As it doesn’t require a transmitter to operate, costs are usually much lower than those of a traditional broadcast. With fewer resources needed, web radios can offer commercial-free content to listeners and are often financed by donations.
Online radio allows for people from all over the world to access any radio station available and is also fitted to listeners who like to listen to specialized audio content. In 2021, online radio was the most listened to digital audio content among French respondents, followed by musical streaming and live audio. This more flexible service appeals to a broad audience, regardless of gender, age or occupation. Indeed, consumers aged 35 to 49 years old represented 26 percent of online music and radio listeners, while respondents aged 65 and older accounted for 15 percent in 2019. That same year, 12 percent of online audio content consumers were students.
France Inter was by far the most listened to online radio station both in terms of numbers of hours as well as plays, followed by RTL and NRJ with more than half number of daily listeners in 2021. France Inter belongs to the Radio France Group, the leading French public service radio broadcaster. Founded in 1975, Radio France offers seven national networks in total, among them France Info, France Culture, France Musique and the aforementioned France Inter. These networks cover a great variety of topics, such as 24-hour news, national and regional news, various cultural programming (arts, history, science, philosophy). However, the private radio station NRJ was also one of the most listened to radio stations in France in terms of listening time, with more than 11 million hours.