Public Radio: Live Streaming is Slowing, On-Demand is growing

According to Nieman Journalism Lab a shift is occuring in the digital listening patterns of the public radio audience.  NPR measured the streams of 239 stations and their overall digital platform.  According to NPR Digital Services, "digital listenership habits of the public radio audience are changing, as fewer people listen to live streaming audio and a growing number choose to tune in on demand."

Total streaming hours are off 6% year-over-year, while on-demand/podcast growth is up.  On-demand now accounts for one-third of all digital listening hours on the NPR platform.  

Steve Mulder who is NPR's senior director of audience insights takes a broad view; "This reflects the larger consumer trend that we see across all media, which is live consumption of any media, including television, shifting to on-demand, self-curated experiences."  


The decline in streaming is reflected on live stream platforms such as Tune-In where listening is down 15% year-over-year at the same time on-demand platform Stitcher reports a 23% increase of consumption of NPR content. 

Unfortunately, the metrics for podcasts are still primitive (thanks Apple ..) and a download does not guarantee a listen.  However, Edison Research estimates that about two-thirds of downloads result in listening.  

Mulder says, “People want to control the media they are consuming. They are able to in many other ways of their lives. Of course they’re going to want this when listening to audio as well. We saw this happening in music, of course, with the rise of the behemoth Pandora, and it only makes sense that we’re going to see this in news and talk listening as well.”

The premise for Amplifi Media is the undeniable trend and desire for consumers to control and curate their listening.  NPR and its affiliates are the leaders in the podcast space, and this is the first substantial confirmation of the migration from stream to on-demand.  

Read the full piece from Nieman here