Is this the end of Radio as we know it? Or is it just no longer a zero sum game?


Do online platforms like Pandora and Spotify mean the death of radio as we know it?

It would seem not, and as the saying goes “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”



A new study by researchers at NuVoodoo Media Services has found that Pandora Does Not Cannibalize Radio. Listening to Pandora does not mean that users listen to less broadcast radio.

More than a thousand users aged 14-54 (in the US) were interviewed and findings indicate that 62% of Pandora users listen to Pandora at least 30 minutes per day.

The percentage spending at least that much time with broadcast radio does not decrease.


Metro Radio Decline

Over the past 5 years or so, Metro radio listening across our capital cities is down about 6%, so an average drop of around 1 % a year. Metro radio’s cumulative audience is about the same, showing no real declines.

This could be due in part to the shift to new media services but also is a reflection of radio content, shows and formats, and higher commercial content.


Growing the market

Increasingly, as in the Nu Voodoo study, researchers are finding that more access to music means more time spent consuming it. Services like Pandora, Spotify and iTunes radio will grow music consumption. Fighting for ears is no longer a zero sum game..

The findings also represent a huge opportunity for broadcast radio. "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," said Leigh Jacobs, VP, Research for NuVoodoo.  "

This latest research shows that longer listening to 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.


Music Videos

Similarly most people remember the introduction of music video on television. Countdown in 1974, MTV in 1981 and Channel V launching here in 1995. There was much talk then about video replacing radio. As the song said “ Video killed the radio star." But it didn't. Radio continued to increase listenership and revenue share in the following decade and beyond.



It was the same when video/dvd’s were introduced, everybody said it would kill cinema’s. But cinema bounced back, reinventing itself.

Chris Chard, Managing Director of Roadshow said: Video (before DVD) was supposed to be the death knell of the cinema. If people could watch recent release movies at home why would they go out to the cinema?”

The boom of video rental stores (firstly) followed by the massive consumer adoption of DVD’s was initially considered a major threat to the cinema chains.

What in fact happened was that consumers became more widely engaged with film content, more familiar with the stars, directors and the film franchises, that they became more interested and loyal to the medium.

The cinema-going experience improved with innovations like Gold Class and 3D .

This attracted consumers to see movies before they become available to buy at retail or digitally. Even today – with large screen HDTV and the BluRay format, the cinema experience is still growing in popularity.

The total size of the market grew substantially through the roll out of DVD – because cinema-going improved despite the massive growth in DVD sales.


Radio Growth

The point is, that there are other mediums and also brands which have come under attack from time to time. But mostly they can be re-invented, innovate, bounce back and grow!

Broadcast radio has many growth opportunities including the continued uptake of digital radio which now accounts for 21.4% * of listening in Australia. Listening online has also increased and now accounts for 12.5% *

The growth of platforms & devices enable listeners a wider range of choices to access listening. The development of new and different, unique content and the continued importance of strong talent and shows will drive radio forward.

It does seem that "the reports of radio’s death have been greatly exaggerated".


  • *Survey 5/2014


Brad March is a Director of Radio Today, is a former CEO of Austereo and has been named Media Executive of the Year. He’s Director of Marchmedia and Pacific Retail Management.



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