Radio Results Blog

Portland Radio vs. Pandora: What Maine Business Owners Need To Know

Posted by Larry Julius on Sun, Apr 17, 2016 @ 08:51 AM

Portland_Radio_Maine_Small_Business_Pandora_ListenersIn case you have been off the grid for the past 10 years, let me tell you what Pandora is.  Pandora, launched in 2005, is an online music service that plays songs it thinks you want to hear based on a set of preferences supplied by the user.  The service is available for a fee without commercials or for free with commercials. According to Forbes, only about 5% of Pandora users value the service enough to pay for it.

If, so inclined, Maine business owners can purchase 15 or 30-second commercials on Pandora. According to the New York Times, "The pitch to advertisers is that its technology can cater to consumers with far greater precision than radio — it can pinpoint listeners by age and sex, ZIP code or even musical taste."

But before a Maine small business owner opens up Pandora's box, they need to know how Pandora stacks up to Portland Radio.

AM/FM Radio Is Still The Dominant Reach Medium

According to Nielsen, 93% of adults listen to radio every week. This is significantly higher than the number of adults who watch TV. More importantly, it far surpasses the number of adults who use a PC, use a smart phone, or use a tablet...the primary devices for accessing Pandora and other streaming media services.


Each week, 646,085 adults in southern Maine listen to a Portland radio station. This is almost 6 times more than listen to Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes Radio combined.

AM/FM Radio Is Winning The Battle Of The Ear

According to a study from Edison Research, Americans spend 4 hours each day listening to audio entertainment.  Despite the proliferation of new audio media over the past 10 years, traditional AM/FM radio is still winning the battle for listeners' ears. The study reveals that over-the-air radio commands a 52.1% share of all audio consumption. By comparison, Pandora and other streaming music services are a distant third at 11.6%.

The Amount Of Time Consumers Spend With Radio Holds Steady

Nielsen reports that adults listen to traditional AM/FM radio for 1-hour-and-forty-nine minutes per day.  This was about the same amount of time they were listening 3 years ago despite the continued onslaught of new media options.


But check this out. According to 2016 study by Bridge Ratings, LLC, the longer somebody subscribes to Pandora the less time they spend listening. The research shows this even more true today than it was just two years ago.


Investors Are Losing Confidence In Pandora

According to Forbes, from December to January, Pandora's value has plunged more than 35%. Forbes credits this loss to concerns that the company cannot generate enough in subscriber and advertising revenue to offset the enormous cost of royalties paid to the record labels. Additionally, competitors such as Spotify, iTunes Radio, and iHeart Radio are taking away Pandora's market share in a category whose growth has stagnated. 

In an attempt to stave off the inevitable, last month Pandora replaced its long time CEO. Wall Street was so unimpressed, the already beleaguered stock price fell 12.5% on the news.

So as Maine small business owners contemplate trusting it advertising dollars to Pandora, they should consider this additional advice from Forbes. " You wouldn’t know it from all the media coverage focused on streaming video and streaming music, but recent Nielsen data shows radio actually has the most reach among American media consumers. It’s quite clear that we should all be paying more attention to radio, its reach and potential to help our businesses. It’s doing the job with expert efficiency."

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Tags: Portland Maine Radio, Small Business Marketing, Small Business Advertising, Maine Small Business, Portland Radio