Radio remains dominant as more people listening to audio online: Edison Research & CRA

Edison Research and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) have today published the sixth annual Infinite Dial Australia study, reporting that while online audio listenership is steadily climbing, radio still remains dominant across live, steamed and catchup listening options.

According to the report, the number of Australians listening to audio each week has increased by 8% over the last year, up to 71% of the population aged 12+ from 66% in 2021, and 46% when the study first started in 2017. Monthly listening also rose, up to 78% from 74% last year. Here, online audio comprises AM, FM and DAB+ radio stations listen to online, as well as podcasts and music streaming services.

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Overall,  radio held its position as the most popular form of audio, with 80% of Australians having listened to radio via AM, FM, DAB+, live streaming or catch-up podcasts over the last week, on par with 2021.

In terms of where listeners were finding their radio fill,  radio station smartphone apps overtook station websites as the top source, with half of those who listen online using an app, up from 44% previously. 44%  listened via a station website and 24% used a smart speaker.

Radio also remained the top audio source in the car with 80% listening to radio in the last month, while only one in three people said they had listened to a podcast in-car.

Despite this, Australia has overtaken the US as one o the most advanced podcast markets in the world, with the number of people who listened to a podcast in the last month growing to 40% from 37% a year ago (compared to 38% in the US), while the number of weekly podcast listeners was steady at 26%.

Podcasts have also seen increased engagement, with listeners tuning into an average of seven episodes in the last week,  with the average time spent listening to podcasts surging to seven hours and six minutes, up from five hours in 2021.

“The 2022 Infinite Dial results show that digital audio in Australia is booming while radio continues to be the leading choice of audio both at home and in the car,” said CRA chief executive officer Ford Ennals.

“Since the pre-pandemic days of 2018 the percentage of Australians who listen to audio online every month has grown by nearly 50% to 78%.

“Australia is one of the world’s leading podcast markets and these results show that podcasts continue to capture the imagination and ears of Australian listeners with a staggering level of individual weekly listening of over seven hours every week. With increases in the key drivers of growth such as smart speaker ownership, connected cars, use of radio station apps and great podcast content, we can expect to see this level of digital audio growth to be sustained.”

The report also found 28% of the Australian population (6.1 million people) own a smart speaker, behind the US where penetration is at 35%. Locally, Google Nest is the leader at 23%, while 5% own an Amazon Alexa device and 2% own an Apple HomePod.

Edison Research president Larry Rosin said: “Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, the Infinite Dial Australia 2022 delivers many actionable insights. After lagging the numbers from the USA in previous studies, monthly podcast listening is now higher in Australia, and weekly listening matches the American estimate. Meanwhile, the Australian radio industry continues to show far more robust resilience in the face of competition than what we see in other countries.”

Commenting on the report, SCA CEO Grant Blackley said: “The Infinite Dial research validates what we are seeing in the market, which is that audio is on a very positive consumption trend both in real terms and across platforms. The reach and effectiveness of the ever-expanding audio marketplace is increasingly garnering more consumer attention and advertiser interest and this study validates its important role to advertisers.”

“As advertisers follow ears, we know that audio attention is the next part of the equation, which is why we launched a world-first study into measurement of broadcast audio attention to understand how live radio influences brand choice to listeners with Professor Karen Nelson-Field. SCA will continue its digital transformation strategy, which is maturing rapidly and underpinned by the early successes of LiSTNR.”

The Infinite Dial Australia 2022 study explores the penetration of online digital audio in Australia and is based on the Infinite Dial US report, the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behaviour in America. The research was conducted by Edison Research in the first quarter of 2022, using a nationally representative sample of 1,001 Australians. The research was sponsored by CRA, LiSTNR and Triton Digital. The full report is available on the CRA website here.


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