Radio Beats TV In Viewers 18-49; The First Time It's Ever Happened

If you needed any more evidence that traditional TV is hemorrhaging viewers, here it is: terrestrial radio is outperforming TV for the first time ever.

Let's assume that doesn't include those several decades when TV hadn't been invented yet.

According to Nielsen's most recent Total Audience report, TV is in some trouble. The report compares media consumption across various mediums,

In their 2022 Q3 report, the ratings and research company found that AM/FM radio had a bigger audience than television. This was specifically in the highly sought-after 18-49 demographic.

“That has never happened before,” Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard said. Cumulus Media owns more than 400 radio stations across the country.

“This is occurring because of the stiff and steep erosion in 18 to 49 linear TV reach and time spent. This is being fueled by cord-cutting and streaming.”

What may be most surprising about this news isn't just that it happened; it's how fast it happened,

As recently as 2018, Nielsen found that radio had slightly less than two-thirds of the audience of live and time-shifted TV in the 18-49 demo. Five years later that has flipped, and radio has a 41% lead.

While it may have a larger audience, Nielsen found that TV and radio share similar daily time spent. They found that radio averaged an hour and 10 minutes to TV's hour and 13 minutes.

They're some eye-opening numbers, that once again show that traditional TV is in a desperate situation. More and more people are ditching cable in favor of streaming platforms, and that trend certainly doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.

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Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.