A couple of weeks ago, the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) reported that revenue from digital formats is increasing quickly this year. A close look at the change in radio audience and technology advances explains why. Consumers are using an ever  growing range of devices to tune into their favorite stations, prompting radio operators to offer interactive entertainment in multiple formats.

Emarketer analysts have been watching the developments in the radio industry. They note that consumers are now streaming radio station output through their smartphones and through in-car technology like WI-FI connected dashboard players. Consumers have also shown great interest in personalizing  radio station output using Pandora. As technology improves, radio stations with online streaming capability are able to reach consumers anytime, anywhere. The potential of these new markets has station executives determining the best way to “serve online ads relevant to those faraway listeners and to allow online listeners to customize playlists as they can with internet radio pure plays.”

The predicted growth in the weekly Internet radio listening audience should look like this:

  • 2011 79.3 million (37.5% of Internet users)
  • 2012 101 million (46.5%)
  • 2013 121 million (54.5%)
  • 2014 141.4 million (62.4%)
  • 2015 157.8 million (68.2%)

Analysts also indicate that listeners may eventually be invited to register with radio stations via social network profiles which would improve targeting capability. That development would likely interest marketers in exploring digital radio as part of their promotional mix.

[Source: The Internet Radio Audience: Personalized, Mobile and Targetable. Emarketer.com. June 2011. Web. 8 Jul. 2011]