Most marketers would be shocked to hear that according to a 2010 Arbitron Report 239 million Americans listen to radio each and every week, that’s 93.1% of the population over 12 years of age. Surprising to marketers because we are mostly consumed by online hype and proclamations of how radio is dying a slow death along with all other “traditional” media.
Based on these numbers radio is definitely not dying, but it does seem to be changing form, or rather changing channels which is moving it into the Online domain. For example, an annual Arbitron and Edison report claims 70 million people have listened to online radio last month (see the chart below). And of those, 40% listened to their regular radio stations through their computers. This is called streaming and has presented a whole new advertising model as custom pre-roll spots (15-30 second ads) are incorporated into the “Listen Live” process (ad runs after clicking “listen live” and before the actual on-air broadcast is streamed). In addition, attractively priced online/offline combo ad packages that include click-thru display ads and on-site pre-roll along with traditional on-air ads are being offered to advertisers. Campaigns that I’ve run using the online display ads on targeted stations’ websites have actually produced quite good results and are very inexpensive.
70 mil Americans 12+ listened to Online Radio last month
The remaining 55% of the 70 million online listeners are listening to internet-only radio (audio) … or what is often called Blog Radio and it’s grown from 46% in 2006. This format seems to just now be developing their commercial legs – although still wobbly (their legs that is), advertisers can purchase intro and extro spots as well as spots integrated throughout the programming. This model is similar to program sponsorship offered on traditional radio.
Listeners prefer Online Radio Only over streaming a traditional station.
It was hearing that Motivational Radio celebrated a milestone of online listeners in August that sparked my interest in this topic along with my fondness for watching the traditional electronic marketing tactics morph into their online forms.
Motivational Radio is produced, hosted and broadcasted out of New Zealand and delivered globally online using their own streaming server that can be accessed from their website at http://www.motivational-radio.com/. This is what sets them apart from most online radio stations, and in fact, makes them more of a traditional station operating online than others that run off of a blog radio platform. As with most online-only radio, live programming is scheduled during a few hours throughout the day and then posted for members to listen during off hours. Many of these stations make listeners create an account and log in to access the programming. These are fabulous list builders and can be used to sell combo packs to advertisers which include the online spots, display ads on the website as well as solo blasts to the lists. A smart online radio site can do really well if they can attract high listenership. Like all online marketing their success is about agressively driving traffic to their site and delivering what their listeners want.
I have included traditional radio, online radio and satellite radio in my new book 148 Ways to Advertise & Promote Your Business: The Ultimate Guide to Traditional and New Media Marketing Tactics that’s available online now. Having started my career in radio I’m partial to the medium. And although I say in my book that I believe AM radio will be extinct within another generation – it’s possible that some of the more clever stations will attract a “new generation” listener base to their online live listening, although it’s doubtful.
All the best to your marketing success,
Charlene Brisson, 3-Step Marketing Pro