Audio landscape: choice and flexibility are the order of the day!
This is a rapidly evolving landscape as much in terms of its offering as in consumption modes: live and on-demand. These complementary formats offer a broad choice to listeners who can compose their own schedule according to their interests and desires whenever they want to listen. Here, we shall review these developments and look back over the 2018-2019 radio season.
Radio dominates the audio landscape
Almost all of the French population has access to a device on which they can listen to the radio, and they may even have several device options: the average is 10.3 per household. Furthermore, radio’s power is such that over the course of a month, 9 out of 10 French people listen to it, mainly for live broadcasts (89.1%) and also increasingly as time-shifted listening (19.5%). Radio is a powerful media: over 42 million people, i.e. more than 3/4 of the population listen daily (78.1%) for an average of close to 3 hours (2hrs 47mins). This means that radio is the leading audio media: on average, it represents nearly two thirds of the total volume of all audio content listened to during the course of a day.
Listeners are increasingly using multimedia equipment (mobile, PC, TV, smart speaker, tablet, music player) to listen to the radio: 7.2 million people - i.e. 13.3% of individuals aged 13 years and over - tune in on these devices. On average, this equipment is used for 13.6% of the volume of radio that is listened to in the course of a day – a record high level. Among these devices, the mobile phone is the preferred digital media for listening to the radio, with nearly 4 million daily listeners. These devices also favour catch-up listening: on average each day, 2 million individuals listen to a radio programme after its live broadcast.
According to Emmanuelle Le Goff, Director of Médiamétrie's Radio Department: "Some of radio's strengths are: its varied offering; solid foundations in news and current affairs; and links to the local community. Listeners are very fond of the radio, and its presenters in particular. As a pillar of the audio ecosystem, today, radio is remapping its borders by widening its offering to include catch-up programmes and reviews, as well as podcasts and special interest webradios.”
Radio remains a media that is firmly rooted in the habits of regular listeners: over a period of 3 weeks from Monday to Friday, on average they listen to the radio on 11.6 out of the 15 days. The vast majority of listeners converge on the morning shows: this key radio slot time draws up to 14 million listeners at 8 o’clock each morning. To keep up with their favourite shows, French people prefer to listen in their cars – the top location for listening to the radio: over a period of 3 weeks, 3 out of 4 French people listened to the radio in the car at least once. Audiences take full advantage of the nature of radio: half of all listening is enjoyed outside of the home, mainly in the car, or at work.
Although a media that crosses the generations, radio is also popular with the working age population: the profiles that are most closely aligned with this media are: male, aged between 35 and 59 years, and upper SPG category. Company directors, executives and higher intellectual professions are also huge fans: 87.6% of these categories listen on a daily basis.
The types of programmes on offer correspond to the three major public expectations vis-a-vis the radio: listening to music, getting news updates and finding practical information (traffic and weather). 37% of the audience listen to music programmes, 36.2% to general-interest programmes, 19.3% to local programming, and 14% to special interest shows. Faced with this varied offering, listeners are looking for different experiences: they tune into several types of programmes and over several time slots in a day.
The content you want when you want it
Music (other than the music listened to on the radio) is another important content type chosen on a daily basis by French listeners seeking relaxation. More than 3 out of 4 people (75.8%) listen to music in a month, including almost 63% listening to their personal music library (CD, MP3, etc.), and 37.5% who use a music streaming service. Each month, 6% and 5.2% of web users listen to native podcasts and audio books respectively. The latter offerings frequently reach a young audience (under 35 years old) of upper SPG category. Also, in the case of podcasts, they tend to be from the Île de France region. These listeners particularly appreciate the freedom to choose content as well as when to listen.
Listeners prefer audio programming first thing in the morning when they wake up, as well as whilst completing the housework: over half of web users listen to audio content during these moments. Further situations that are conducive to listening to audio content include: cooking or eating (radio preferred) for 46.1% of internet users, and when having guests (music preferred) for 41.8% of users.
Native Podcasts : new content opportunities
Native podcasts, a recent innovation, are original content that has not been broadcast on the airwaves, and which has been exclusively devised for on-demand listening by a radio or other sector stakeholder. 4 out of 10 online users have already heard of them, among 15 to 24-year olds, that figure rises to 63% and among 25 to 34-year olds, it is 55%. This relatively nascent usage has a bright outlook; according to Emmanuelle Le Goff: “Native podcasts are of interest to the traditional radio market stakeholders, as well as other media and pure players. These recent formats combine creative freedom for their designers and listening freedom for audiences, whether they are seeking entertainment or cultural enrichment." The leading awareness vector for these new offerings is the media (41%), followed by social networks (37%). In terms of content, the most popular themes are: culture, fiction, music, and history.
The aggregators of podcasts, websites and applications that are dedicated to podcasts are the top platforms on which to listen to these new formats (48%); 41% of internet users listen via the publisher’s website or app, 24% via a music streaming service, 11% via a video site and 6% via a smart speaker. The latter is the newest arrival among multimedia equipment - 3.2 million users in the first half of the year - and it represents significant potential for podcast listening: more than 1/3 of voice-controlled speaker users listen to radio or native podcasts, and that figure is growing.
Emmanuelle Le Goff concluded: “The audio universe has expanded considerably in recent years: its content is diverse and digital has added new means of accessing it. Whether listening live or on-demand, audio gives the listener total freedom to choose what they listen to, as well as where and when they listen to it. Such varied and easily accessed audio content, especially in the form of mobile offerings, is growing in popularity, supplied by the traditional channels, digital media, streaming platforms and social networks. Today, this content is bolstering its position inside homes with the arrival of voice assistants which represent an opportunity for listening and additional interaction.”