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How is radio listenership affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Radio is celebrating a decade of being the most trusted medium in Europe, as the annual Eurobarometer survey revealed, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The channel reigns over TV and Press (49% and 46% respectively), is trusted by 57% of Europeans in the latest study. Given this consistently high consumer confidence, how has the pandemic affected the channel?

In the Netherlands, the Radio Advice Bureau found that during their ‘intelligent lockdown’ 42% of listeners have increased their time listening to the channel. Most of the growth is from news channels (32%) followed by music stations up 14%. As radio becomes an increasingly important source of both news and relief.

Focusing in on the UK market, YouGov insights (from the week of 20th January vs. the same time period three months later) reveal that the UK population follow the same trend – being 5% more likely to source news from the radio in April. Cementing the status of the channel as a trustworthy source among the general public.

The UK population are also listening to the radio for longer, with the listening share of more than 50 hours a week increased by an impressive 46% period-on-period (PoP). The growth is likely linked to the work from home measures, although at 7+ hours per day (including weekends) this is impressive listening for any Brit!

Supporting this increased listening time, smart speakers and mobile phones drove the largest increases in PoP device listenership (107% and 32% respectively). Whilst clock radios, a device with a much shorter average listening time, recorded a 15% decrease in April. Clearly highlighting the shifting role of radio, from a part of the wake-up routine to an all-day companion.

It may come as a surprise that listening from a vehicle remains the most popular listening device across both months, at 57%. But with travel still being necessary for many front-line workers and those not able to work from home, the audience is still very much active and engaged.

All Response Media viewpoint
With shifting listenership patterns, radio offers an even stronger opportunity than ever to speak directly to consumers on the most trusted medium across Europe. Time periods with traditionally low listenership (outside of the breakfast and drive time periods) will deliver even greater efficiencies, as listenership is increased whilst social distancing measures continue.

Stay safe and stay in touch with your ARM client teams! For more information on the radio services, we offer click here.