Marketing in Canada: Digital Radio Streaming Gains Momentum as Conventional Radio Still Reigns - eMarketer

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Marketing in Canada: Digital Radio Streaming Gains Momentum as Conventional Radio Still Reigns

February 19, 2015

While digital radio is established in the US—now reaching over half the population—it is only beginning to take shape in Canada.

Digital radio platforms, including SiriusXM, Songza and Rdio, have asserted themselves in the Canadian market over the past decade. Spotify recently entered the arena. The music streaming service launched in Canada in September 2014 on mobile, tablet and desktop, and in the three months since launch, 1.5 million users in the country have signed up for its digital streaming service.

While there are many players in the digital radio space in Canada, a key one that’s missing is Pandora. What’s holding the company back from increased penetration? Most likely licensing issues, as well as property rights.

Even with Pandora’s absence, the digital radio space in Canada is maturing. Research conducted by media and communications agency PHD Canada found that individuals ages 18 and older in the country spent 54 minutes per week streaming online radio on their desktop.

Weekly Time Spent Online Among Adults in Canada, by Device, 2014 (minutes and % of total)

Separate August 2014 data from global marketing research company Ipsos Reid found that 14% of internet users in Canada listen to radio online, with the highest penetration among males and 18- to 34-year-olds. However, even among these comparatively avid online radio aficionados, conventional radio stills remains a higher daily media activity.

Daily Media Activities Among Internet Users in Canada, by Demographic, Aug 2014 (% of respondents in each group)

Media Technology Monitor (MTM), a Canadian research product that focuses on technology ownership and usage, also looked at conventional radio, online radio and consumer habits with these mediums. MTM, which released its findings in January 2015, found that 90% of individuals ages 18 and older in Canada listened to conventional AM/FM radio in the past month. These users also reported spending 9.7 hours per week listening to AM/FM radio on a regular receiver.

While conventional radio certainly still reigns, streaming radio is gaining traction. Among the MTM respondents, 20% said they have streamed AM/FM radio. And, these users spent 0.9 hours per week listening to online radio and 4.3 hours per week listening to online audio.

Looking at digital radio usage by native language, streaming radio is the top audio technology and activity among English- and French-speaking consumers in Canada. According to separate research by MTM, as cited by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), 22% of English-speaking respondents in Canada and 14% of French-speaking respondents in the country streamed radio in 2013.

Usage of Select Audio Technologies and Activities Among Consumers in Canada, by Native Language, 2009-2013 (% of respondents in each group)

Learn more about the digital radio audience in the US with the February 2015 eMarketer report, “Digital Radio: Let by Pandora, Now Robust 'Audio' Ad Channel.”

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