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Commercial audio opportunity ‘more nuanced than ever’

Commercial audio opportunity ‘more nuanced than ever’

Three-quarters of UK adults listen to commercial audio for an average of 15 hours a week,  research by Radiocentre has found.

The trade body for commercial radio has published the Generation Audio report as a follow up to its Audio Now study in 2014.

It found total weekly commercial audio listening is growing year on year, with spring 2022 recording 616,335 total weekly commercial audio listening hours, an increase of just over 21%.

The research, based a quantitative survey of 1,000 listeners and a qualitative ethnographic study by market research agency Differentology, additionally found new need states fulfilled by audio, changing listening behaviours, ways of listening and opportunities in context-led advertising and media planning.

Mark Barber, Radiocentre’s planning director, teased the new seventh need state for audio, “keeping me company”, at the industry body’s annual Tuning In event earlier this year.

Commercial radio led in terms of both reach and share of time spent listening in six of the seven need states, organised in to personal, context, social and content categories (pictured, below chart).

Radiocentre said these need states offer unique opportunities for advertisers to achieve mass reach as well as tailored messages and “varied and nuanced” targeting capabilities, making the case to move beyond solely using commercial audio for reach and frequency, but  further “more sophisticated needs-based approaches” to campaign performance.

The study also discovered live radio retained its position as the lead audio format and was complemented (rather than cannibalised) by evolving on-demand audio services, including music streaming and podcasts.

Recent Rajar Midas data also found smartphone penetration of the audio market has reached 93% in the UK, meaning the majority of people connect to their favourite audio services via their mobile phones.

Another finding was that the launch of smart speakers has had “a significant impact” on overall audio listening over the past six years in particular since the launch of Amazon’s Echo device.

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