On the Rise: Steady Growth for Podcasts, Rapid Growth for Smart Speakers
The 2018 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital® unveils the latest research in digital audio, social media, mobile, smart speakers, and podcast consumption.
The two most talked-about sectors in audio today – podcasting and Smart Speakers – post significant gains in this year’s Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital.
Podcasting continues to steadily grow, as 44% of Americans 12+ now say they have ever listened to a podcast, up from 40% from last year. Podcasting’s in-car gains continue as well: a year ago, 18% of podcast listeners described the car as the place they most often listened to podcasts; this year, that number is 22%.
The 2018 Infinite Dial study, the latest report in a series dating back to 1998 that covers consumer usage of media and technology, has tracked many new platforms as they develop and redefine the media landscape. This year’s report spotlights the growth of Smart Speakers, voice-controlled devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Today, 18% of Americans 12+ (an estimated 51 million people), live in households that have at least one Smart Speaker. This means that Smart Speaker ownership has more than doubled from 7% just one year ago, which shows Smart Speaker adoption at a faster rate than the early days of the smartphone, which showed only 4% growth in a comparable timeframe.
The Infinite Dial has become the report card on digital audio and other digital media, and is widely used and quoted by broadcasters, Internet radio, ad agencies, and the financial community. The study uses the gold standard of nationally representative survey research—a random probability telephone sample – comprising both mobile phones and landlines, of all Americans ages 12 and older.
Among the many other highlights:
- Monthly Online Radio audience is now 180 million Americans, or 64% of Americans 12+, due to growth in Spotify, Apple Music and Alexa-driven Amazon Music listening
- Despite the rise of other services, Pandora continues to lead in the online radio space—31% of Americans have listened in the past month
- The portion of Americans 12+ using Facebook has declined from 67% to 62%
- As Smart Speaker ownership rises (18% of Americans own a Smart Speaker), there is a continued decline in standalone radio ownership (29% do not own an AM/FM radio in the home)
- 44% of Americans 12+ have ever listened to an audiobook
“With twenty years of historical data, The Infinite Dial is the authoritative source in the growing and dynamic online audio industry.” said John Rosso, President of Market Development at Triton Digital. “Triton is pleased to once again partner with Edison Research to uncover and present this data.”
Tom Webster, Edison’s Senior Vice President noted, “With the surge in smart speaker ownership, and the continued growth of podcasting and streaming audio, it is more important than ever for brands to have a holistic audio strategy.”
Watch The Infinite Dial 2018
How the study was conducted:
A total of 2,000 persons were interviewed to explore Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media. From January 4th through February 11th, 2018, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling through both landline phones and mobile phones.
About Edison Research:
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Gulf News, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, Time Warner and Yahoo. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Bonneville, Emmis, Entercom, CBS Radio and Radio One. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Edison Research is the sole provider of election exit poll data for the National Election Pool. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue.
About Triton Digital:
Triton Digital® is the global technology and services leader to the digital audio and podcast industry. Operating in more than 40 countries, Triton Digital provides innovative technology that enables broadcasters, podcasters, and online music services to build their audience, maximize their revenue, and streamline their day-to-day operations. In addition, Triton Digital powers the global online audio industry with Webcast Metrics®, the leading online audio measurement service, that makes it easy for advertisers and brands to determine the best destination and time to reach their target audiences. Through unparalleled integrity, excellence, teamwork, and accountability, Triton Digital remains committed to connecting audio, audience, and advertisers to continuously fuel the growth of the global online industry.
The Infinite Dial research series from Edison Research and Triton Digital has been tracking Facebook usage since 2008, and that usage has steadily increased for ten straight years. But this year, for the first time in our tracking, the portion of Americans reporting that they currently ever use the service has declined from 67% to 62% among Americans 12+.
Usage is down or flat in every demographic age group, gender, and ethnicity. It should be noted that despite these declines Facebook remains by far the most-used social media service. A number of other social media services, however, continued to show robust growth, making this diminishment particular to Facebook. We also ask what social media site or service people use the most. Here, too, Facebook declined.
We will reveal that decline, along with surprising new data on streaming media, podcasting, mobile technology, and more in a free broadcast on Facebook live, at 2 PM on March 8th. You don’t need a Facebook account to view the broadcast–you only need a browser.
To register for the event, receive reminders, and a free copy of the full report after the broadcast airs, sign up for The Infinite Dial 2018 here.
How the study was conducted:
A total of 2,000 persons were interviewed to explore Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media. From January 4, 2018 to February 11, 2018, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling for both cell phones and landlines.
Edison Research is proud to announce that VP Megan Lazovick has been named one of Cynopsis Media’s Top Women in Digital for 2018 in the “Rising Star” category. The Cynopsis award recognizes the most influential women in digital, marketing, advertising, social media and online content.
If you have any questions about understanding consumer behaviors in the digital realm, Megan is the person to ask. She has worked successfully on behalf of many of the biggest brands in the space. It is a testament to her combination of inventiveness and curiosity.
Her observations on consumer attitudes and behavior helped to shape custom research studies that have been widely publicized and cited in the media industry, such as Edison’s Share of Ear and The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research.
Please join us in congratulating our “Rising Star” Megan (@meg_laz) on this accomplishment!
Country Listeners Bring Their AM/FM Loyalty to Smart Speakers
But Broadcast Radio Isn’t Their First “Ask” of Alexa
Country radio listeners are enthusiastic about smart speakers and inclined to listen to more audio because of them. But while Country fans are more likely to listen to AM/FM radio stations on a smart speaker device than the general population, Country radio stations must do more to “ask for the order,” according to “Country Radio: At Home with Smart Speakers,” the Edison Research study unveiled today at Country Radio Seminar.
Using a combination of studies performed for CRS and previous studies with NPR, Edison presented a comprehensive look at this new but very fast-growing market and how it will change audio consumption.
Edison found that 48% of Country fans who are smart speaker owners had listened to AM/FM radio on their speakers in the week before they were contacted. That’s higher than the 43% of all listeners who had used their smart speakers for broadcast radio, and follows a tradition of Country listeners showing greater loyalty to radio in their digital behaviors.
The study also found that despite broadcasters’ growing efforts to develop smart speaker skills and more frequent on-air mentions, only 25% of Country smart speaker owners were aware of an AM/FM radio station that offers a smart speaker skill.
“Yes, the adoption of these devices into homes is a huge opportunity for radio,” says Edison Research president Larry Rosin, who co-presented the findings with Edison VP Megan Lazovick. “But don’t be complacent, on Smart Speakers you are competing on the ‘Infinite Dial,’ where all audio is available. Listening to your station is highly unlikely to be the first thing a Smart Speaker user will seek out. It is up to you to remind them.”
Music is a strong motivator for Country listeners on smart speakers—96% say listening to music was a reason for wanting the device, far and away the leading answer. 81% say they used the device to play music last week, and 72% said they used it to play Country music. Country listeners who own smart speakers also say they listen to more music than overall respondents—6 hours and 11 minutes a week, roughly an hour more than others.
In the early days of digital audio, Country listeners often lagged others in their adaption of technology, something which gave some broadcasters a false sense of security. But among those who own smart speakers, Country listeners show greater enthusiasm, if anything, than their peers. 37% of Country smart speaker owners agree they purchased the device “because all your friends and family members have one” vs. 26% overall. Four out of five Country smart speaker owners think the device was easy to set up.
Edison has quickly established itself as the leader in Smart Speaker research with highly publicized studies for NPR and others. “Country Radio: At Home With Smart Speakers” is also the latest in the annual tradition of major studies of Country radio listeners conducted with Country Radio Broadcasters and unveiled at CRS.