NuVoodoo: Broadcast radio beats Pandora on music


nuvoodoo logoNuVoodoo Media Services announced additional findings from its 4th and latest NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study. The company interviewed nearly 1,100 respondents, ages 14-54, in all PPM markets to update NuVoodoo’s insights on the relationship between broadcast radio and the leading digital music provider, Pandora. The findings indicate that 62% of Pandora users listen to Pandora at least 30 minutes per day and nearly as many Pandora users spend that much time daily with broadcast radio. Per the graph below, as Pandora experience increases, so does the percentage that listen to it at least 30 minutes. But the percentage spending at least that much time with broadcast radio did not decrease.



Leigh Jacobs, Vice President, Research for NuVoodoo said: “What we wanted to learn was whether Pandora’s algorithms do a better job creating an enjoyable playlist for consumers than the researched and carefully curated playlists that Broadcast programmers sweat over day in, day out. It’s Pandora’s technology against radio’s research and decades of experience.”

“Our data show that Broadcast beats Pandora for music satisfaction – big among those who align themselves with rock-leaning formats,” continues Jacobs. “While the customization possibilities are endless with Pandora and other digital pure plays, we know that few take advantage of all those possibilities. What it sets up is a massive number of swing voters – consumers whose time we could pull back from Pandora with the right promotional tactics or lower commercial loads.

Carolyn Gilbert, NuVoodoo President said: “Radio’s on a bigger stage than it’s been since the advent of TV, but it does a great job making great music programming easy for consumers. We’ve known for years that most people don’t want to program their own music or design their own cars, for that matter. They want to pick something that works for them and enjoy it.”

Leigh Jacobs, Vice President, Research for NuVoodoo Media Services said: “We know that many Pandora listeners are also heavy users of broadcast radio, but we’re interested in whether those using Pandora begin to pull away from broadcast radio over time. These latest results validate our hypothesis that longer experience with Pandora doesn’t equate to less listening to broadcast radio. While those who’ve spent more time with Pandora tend to increase their daily TSL from the service, they claim not to reduce their TSL with broadcast radio.”

Mike O’Connor, Executive Vice President, Marketing for NuVoodoo Media Services said: “This new information represents a huge opportunity for radio. Our marketing clients benefit directly from the intelligence we glean from our Ratings Prospect Studies and other proprietary indicators, as we develop well-crafted station promotions and marketing targeting those people who use Pandora, and those most likely to carry meters. This research validates so many parts of our unique product formula, and we’re eager to rack up more successes for our clients this fall based on these and other proprietary results.”

RBR-TVBR observation: As we’ve said before with Pandora, if you create your own specialized music format, you’ll get a great deal of music discovery that you like, but Pandora tends to throw in tunes from nowhere—even if you’ve created the format years ago. We’re talking about songs from completely different genres.  It can be annoying and it forces you to rush to the “thumbs down” button often. Also, on commercial-free PC listening, Pandora will stop playing fairly often and force you to hit the “I’m still listening” button. This is an Achilles Heel for Pandora and something that you will never have to experience with a well-programmed broadcast radio station. This phenomenon is likely reflected in this NuVoodoo study with the participants questioned.


  1. Great information for broadcast as it furthers the broadcast resiliency argument. Because of access to the medium this information isn’t surprising but certainly laid out well and not seen before. It shows that habits are tough to break and that consumers are not ready to give up on what they have relied on for their entire lives. Radio provides so much that these pure play audio services don’t. It shows that localism and personalities are important. It shows that a guided experience is important. Musically, It also shows that radio seems to be serving up what the listeners want more than the Pandora algorithm can provide. The second chart might have looked different years ago when P non-subscribers could skip as many songs as they desired. Now that it is only 6 songs an hour we know from the Jacobs Tech study that the algorithm isn’t working as it is the #2 complaint from P listeners (only behind commercials).

    As listenership moves on line we know that radio stations streams are growing. We know that access to radios station’s through apps and other avenues are also growing. Stations need to invest in the UX of their listeners so that the experience that they love so much lives on all platforms. This is so important but seems to be something that radio groups are having a tough time allocating funds for. Pandora’s audience isn’t growing but is a threat on the streets and continues taking money out of radio’s pocket. If we invest in great content and roll that experience from the broadcast to a re-built meaningful interactive and engaging experience, radio will thrive. It’s a ton of work and investment that radio needs to recognize. Great research guys!

  2. Great DJs are way better, the ad load is too heavy. Listener-supported options like Bill Goldsmith and Radio Paradise over distribution platforms like TuneIn can create a viable future for talent that is suffocating now.

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