Some recent online growth statistics make it hard to refute that as a broadcaster, you shouldn’t be taking your online streaming seriously. It’s just not streaming anymore . . . it’s mission-critical. Listeners have come to rely on their ability to access quality, uninterrupted radio streams from anywhere in the world, via their desktop or mobile device.
Almost three-quarters of adults are now online, according to the latest report by HubSpot, with one-third of all consumers spending 180+ minutes a day on the web daily. According to our latest research numbers, the average online listener session for music is 81 minutes, and the average session for talk is 141 minutes. The peak time for these listening sessions starts to pick up around 9 AM EST, hitting a peak between 1 - 5 PM EST. This shows that the majority of online listener sessions are occurring during normal business hours, and not during the traditional morning and afternoon drive times.
Let’s look at the daytime primetime for mobile listeners; also peaking out at pretty much the same, but extending a little farther into the evenings. Again, a lot of the peak times for mobile listeners are occurring on or during business hours. So do you have mobile apps for smartphones? You don’t have apps for the smartphones? Which is it? I think you can tell where you should be on this one too. Chances are, you are streaming in some form or another, but are you set up to take advantage of the new ‘drive’ time? While everyone is ‘driving’ their day from their plushy office or mobile coffee shop WiFi hotspot, are you reaching them with a professional and quality streaming experience?
And look at the average dwell time of an online listener. We spend far more time at our desks (with certain exceptions of course) than we do in our cars. The online listener is also able to respond to multi-media interaction, calls to action, social media and other things that a listener has a hard time doing while driving. Plus, the ability to display media and target specific ads is one of the inherent features of a robust online presence. You have to be streaming online in order to reach these listeners, and you have to be doing it properly to make an impact.
As a matter of fact, many stations have still not broadly accepted the growth in online listening. Together with the right social media presence, you are sending a clear signal to your listeners that you are reaching across all forms of media to embrace them. Don’t forget that the weekly online audience has doubled every five years since 2001. Are you keeping up with that growth? If not, why not? All you need to do is make a few simple changes in what you are doing in the studio and on your website to make your station and stream more attractive and memorable.
More recent research shows that station owners believe that the best choice for making money for their station is online streaming. And the listener? The listener overwhelmingly believes that the internet is going to play a bigger part of radio in the future . . . to the tune of 96%. You need to not only be streaming (if you aren’t already), but you need to be streaming in 1) a quality, ubiquitous format like AAC+, with 2) the ability to engage your listeners with user-interactive features, and 3) monetize the traffic with advertising. Now, if you can do those three things, you will not only keep up with the online listener growth expectations, but be able to profit from it as well, if done correctly.