In 2018, radio’s 18-49 average audience was 63% the size of live and time-shifted TV. However, things have changed quickly. Today, radio’s persons 18-49 average audience is now +3% greater than television. Additionally, radio’s weekly persons 18-49 reach of 83% is significantly larger than television’s 59%.
This means that each week, 41% of U.S. persons 18-49 are not reached by live and time-shifted TV. Radio reaches +41% more persons 18-49 than live and time-shifted television. Interestingly, 18-49 daily time spent on TV and radio is now virtually tied.
Why is TV Losing Its Audience?
According to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, the 18-49 weekly reach of live and time-shifted TV has dropped -28% since 2018. Over the same period, TV’s daily time spent is down -56%, a loss of an hour and a half.
Cord cutting is one of the major drivers of TV’s audience collapse. The MRI Simmons January 2023 “How Americans Watch TV” report reveals that 51% of Americans have cut the cord, while another 10% are “cord tepid” or contemplating “cord shaving.” Only 38% of Americans are “cord content."
While a huge number of Americans have abandoned traditional TV for streaming, radio remains the dominant audio platform. According to Edison Research’s Q4 2022 “Share of Ear,” radio has a massive 73% share of U.S. ad-supported audio. In comparison, radio audience shares are over 15 times larger than ad-supported Pandora and 18 times larger than ad-supported Spotify.
How Radio Makes TV Better
Adding radio to the media plan generates extraordinary incremental reach. For example, J&J’s pharmaceutical brand Tremfya saw a +45% reach increase when it added radio to its media plan. At only 7% of the TV budget, the addition of radio generated a massive +45% incremental reach lift for Tremfya.
In conclusion, the rise of radio among the 18-49 demographic is a historic first, with radio now beating TV in the average audience and weekly reach. Radio's success is due to its ability to adapt and evolve with the times, embracing new technology and becoming more diverse in terms of programming. The decline of TV, driven by cord-cutting and the rise of streaming, has also played a role in radio's success. Incorporating radio into a media plan can generate significant incremental reach and help reach audiences that TV may not be able to capture. With its massive reach and enduring popularity, radio remains a powerful advertising platform for brands looking to expand their reach and connect with audiences across America.