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Radio Still Rules in the Car

Despite all the buzz around new audio options and the ever more complex in-dash configurations, broadcast radio is still dominant in the car.

At 66.2%, the share of in-car listening devoted to AM/FM radio in Canada is virtually identical to what it was five years ago, according to our latest Radio on the Move study, tracking in-car listening to radio and audio alternatives since 2010. Consistent with past tracking, more than 2,000 Canadian drivers/passengers were surveyed.

New alternatives such as podcasts and streaming audio are growing, but still represent a tiny fraction of in-car listening --- podcasts now garner a 2.5% share of in-car listening, while streaming audio’s share is barely half that at 1.4%.

Even more interesting, increased listening in-car to audio alternatives such as satellite radio, podcasts and streaming audio seem to be coming at the expense of listening to personal music, not to AM/FM radio where share of in-car listening holds steady.

How relevant are these findings outside of Canada? Certainly, you would expect that the share of in-car listening to streaming audio would be higher elsewhere --- Canada still has no Pandora and Spotify has only been around since September 2014. According to the Fall 2015 Edison Research Share of Ear study, in-car share for streaming audio is higher in the U.S. But only slightly, with Pandora, Spotify and other streaming audio capturing a total of just 3% of all listening. Meanwhile, AM/FM's in-car share came in even higher than it does in Canada, at 72%,

Given that other audio options seem to be replacing listening to personal music, broadcast radio may weather the storm better than expected. At the least in the car. At home or work? Well, that could be a whole different story...

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