Online Radio: 23.7 Percent Listen, Podcast Users Fickle: Research

The fall in radio audiences has long been blamed on the growth of online and iPods amongst younger listeners. In the week the latest Rajar figures showed further declines in listening hours for many stations, a study conducted by Ipsos Mori for Rajar – its first attempt to understand just what is going on in online – shows 8.1 million people listen to either streamed or catch-up radio in any given week, while only 1.87 million listen to a podcast.

Of 11.9 million people who have listened to internet radio at some point (23.7 percent of the population), 9.1 million listened live and 7.6 million used listen-again facilities; 4.3 million reported having listened to a podcast at some point. All this is rather academic as the survey – written in the Comic Sans typeface – involved only 639 respondents aged 15 and over – it’s a small panel that ignores how younger teens are listening and includes some hard-to-fathom assertions that serve only to support Rajar’s core conventional radio remit. Anyway…

On-demand: Interestingly, 75 percent those who use listen-again features say it hasn’t affected how much live radio they consume. You would expect on-demand listening to detract from live listening but only eight percent report listening to less live programming as a result. Those who listen on-demand play an average 1.88 programmes per week.

Personalisation: 30 percent of online radio listeners (3.97 million) are aware of services like – 247,000 use them every day, 973,00 use them every week. Again, however, 78 percent of these said their listening of live radio had remained unaffected.

Podcasts: 66 percent of podcast users subscribe using iTunes, 23 percent play files directly in their browser (thereby not subscribing at all). 80 percent listen on their computer, 61 percent on a mobile player, suggesting many do both. Rajar thinks people “tune in” to podcasts. Inexplicably, it says 18 percent of podcast users listen to more live radio as a consequence – how? Even those who do use podcasts don’t do so for very long – most listen for less than 30 minutes a week and only 60 percent of folk listen to an entire podcast. Only 12 percent of listeners were in favour of paying for podcasts and only 4.1 percent have ever done so. Comedy is the most popular genre and most consume podcasts not whilst mobile but whilst at home.

Location: 91.5 percent of internet radio users listen at home, a quarter at work