Listen up: A portrait of the Pandora listener
They are young, of course, and skew male, finds a new study
April 19, 2016
By the editors of Media Life
This is one in a number of stories on radio in Media Life’s ongoing series “The new face of radio in America,” examining all the changes taking place in the medium. Click here for earlier stories.
So who listens to Pandora?
It’s probably exactly who you’d think—young urbanites who tend to skew male.
But how much they listen, what are their biggest beefs with the digital radio service, and what other forms of radio do they listen to?
Those answers are much less obvious yet of great curiosity to media buyers and planners.
And the answers are found in a recent study from Jacobs Media Strategies, a media consultancy that does an annual survey on the ways listeners engage with new and old media.
This year’s study includes quite a bit of research on Pandora, at a time when the future looks uncertain for the digital radio service. While it still has millions of listeners and remains a destination for local advertisers, it still isn’t making money and is rumored to be on the block.
According to Jacobs, 23 percent of men listen to Pandora, compared to 22 percent of women.
The company’s strength is, not surprisingly, with Millennials, with 28 percent saying they use the service. Generation X is second at 23 percent.
Perhaps surprisingly, 18 percent of the Silent Generation, or those before the Baby Boomers, also say they use the service, which is fairly high for anything digital.
Twenty-four percent of people in large markets say they listen to the service, more than medium (22 percent) and small (21 percent) markets.
Interestingly, a small percentage of Pandora listeners, 23 percent, say they are listening to the service less this year than they were last year. Among them, Millennials are most likely to be cutting back on their listening.
Overall, 28 percent of respondents said they use Pandora, down slightly from 30 percent last year. That still puts it ahead of Sirius XM Radio, with 22 percent saying they listen to satellite, but well behind traditional radio, at 91 percent.
Why the decline for Pandora listeners? Well, that could be related to the many complaints that respondents had about the service.
The biggest one, cited by 51 percent of respondents, was the limited ability to skip songs while listening to a Pandora station.
But listeners are also unhappy with the ads. Forty-nine percent said they’re annoying, and 47 percent feel as though the service has begun playing more commercials.
Of course, this is a common complaint about any form of media, from traditional radio to TV to print.
Other complaints include playing too many songs listeners don’t like, predictable playlists and not enough local information.
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