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Pandora or iHeartRadio? The New Battleground for Internet Radio

Posted by on Sep 19, 2011 in Blog, SMG Favs | 0 comments

This coming weekend, Clear Channel is hosting a huge music festival featuring Lady Gaga and Jay-Z in order to promote its newest venture, iHeartRadio. This online radio and mobile app is a new rival to Pandora, which is the current leader in the marketplace with over 100 million listeners.

While digital radio is still carving out a small niche in the overall radio audience, the numbers are trending up with younger demos. According to Arbitron research, 18% of adults 18+ use the internet to listen to radio online and 14% use their mobile devices for music as well.  Of those surveyed who listen to online radio, 50% are 18-35, 38% college educated, and 58% male, which is 30-50% higher than the average 18+ adult.  Pandora recently released ratings numbers showing they are competitive with traditional radio stations.

Meanwhile, iHeartRadio is coming into this market with Clear Channel’s immense resources. While Pandora boasts 100 million listeners, Clear Channel has 800 stations, in 150 markets, reaching 237 million listeners.  Consequently, iHeartRadio offers a music library of over 11 million songs, compared to 900,000 for Pandora. Both provide websites and mobile apps that offer customizable channels based on a user’s taste in music, while iHeartRadio has the added feature of including local Clear Channel traditional stations anywhere.

What does this mean for consumers and advertisers? Now consumers now have another option when listening to radio on their computers or mobile devices. Clear Channel may tout more songs, but some listeners might enjoy Pandora’s indie/small label feel more than the Ryan Seacrest Top 40. Meanwhile for advertisers, Pandora provides ad space on the site as well as on the app, which we utilized here at Smart Media Group below:

 Currently iHeartRadio does not have advertising on their app or site, but still feeds in 30-60 second ads from the local station.  Therefore, in order to penetrate this growing market, agencies should utilize both services by placing interactive ads on Pandora as well as traditional radio on key Clear Channel stations.

Further reading:  Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio takes on Pandora

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