Monthly Podcast Listeners Grow To 46 Million Americans 12+

2015 Monthly Podcast Listening

 

In our upcoming 2015 edition of The Infinite Dial, we will be featuring an expanded section on Podcasting, a medium that we have been researching in this series for a decade. This year we are able to report that the percentage of Americans 12+ who have listened to at least one podcast in the past month has risen from 15% to 17%, or an estimated 46 million people.

These and other new insights on media, technology, and consumer behavior will be unveiled on March 4th, when The Infinite Dial 2015 webcast premieres, co-hosted by Tom Webster from Edison Research and Mike Agovino from Triton Digital.

Register for The Infinite Dial 2015 today!

How the Study was Conducted

A total of 2002 persons were interviewed to explore Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media. From January 6 to February 9, 2015, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 900 cell phone interviews. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish as appropriate.

Share Of Ear® Study Shows Dramatic Increase In Podcasting Consumption

In the Spring 2014 Share of Ear® study (a syndicated research series from Edison Research), we took a first look at how much of the total audio consumed by Americans was devoted to podcasts. Compared to the entire audio universe–every available minute of radio, Internet radio, music files, Satellite and more–podcasts occupied a single digit percentage of America’s total audio listening. But when we looked specifically at only those Americans who listen to podcasts, we got a different story–if you listen to podcasts, you listen to a lot of podcasts.

Well, we are now rolling out the updated, Fall 2014 Share of Ear®  study to clients, and there are some significant trends. For podcasting, there is no more remarkable finding than this: if you are a daily listener of podcasts, you listen to more podcast audio than any other form of audio, as the graph below illustrates:

 

Let’s break this graph down a bit. First of all, to be clear, this graph refers to the percentage of total audio time, not a percentage of listeners or users. This chart shows all of the time spent listening to various forms of audio by those Americans who listened to at least one podcast in the last 24 hours. For the first time, we can report that podcast listeners are now listening to more podcast audio than any other form of audio (click to Tweet). In the Spring study, podcasts were a close second to AM/FM radio, but today we see AM/FM fall to third amongst podcast listeners. And while we have no doubt that Serial has contributed to this phenomenon (we fielded during the apex of Serial’s popularity), it doesn’t explain all of this finding. This is, indeed, going to be a big year for podcasting, and this is but our first clue.

A couple of other notes: first of all, the total share of podcast listening amongst all Americans increased by 18% over our Spring study, which is a significant jump. It’s also worth noting the statistic that is in the caption to the graph above: Podcast listeners (as defined) spend an average of 6 hours and 8 minutes each day listening to any form of audio. The average American spends a skosh over 4 hours per day listening to audio. What this means is that while some of the shift in podcast listening has come from other forms of media (in particular, AM/FM Radio,) much of it is simply new listening, as podcast consumers continue to bring their podcasts with them into environments and settings where they previously might not have consumed audio.

There is another implication here, however, in the shift from AM/FM Radio to podcasts with these listeners: the importance of Talk programming. The “long tail” nature of podcasts is far better able to serve the passions and interests of individual listeners than mainstream broadcast programming, but with breakout hits such as Serial, the long tail might be starting to wag the dog a little–and this may broaden the appeal of talk audio programming in general. Podcasting is a content play in its purest form–and as more and more Americans discover the medium, AND discover content that is compelling to them, we are going to continue to see interesting migrations in listening habits amongst these Americans.

Finally, when we looked at all of the listening hours available in our nationally representative Fall 2014 Share of Ear®  study, teased out the hours devoted to podcasting, and projected this across the U.S. population, we came up with this remarkable number: Americans listen to approximately 21,117,000 hours of podcast audio each and every day (click to Tweet).

We at Edison are incredibly bullish about podcasting and podcast measurement, and these figures are a pretty good reason why.

This finding is the second public release from the Fall 2014 Share of Ear®  report. Share of Ear® , a twice-yearly tracking study, is unique among audio measurement studies in that it evaluates all forms of audio, including AM/FM radio, streaming audio, owned music, podcasts, SiriusXM satellite radio, TV ‘cable radio’ channels (such as Music Choice), and others. The study is available via subscription. For more information, contact info@edisonresearch.com.

How the Study was Conducted:

Edison Research conducted a nationally representative study of 2,021 Americans ages 13 and older to measure their time spent listening to audio sources. Respondents completed a 24-hour diary of their audio listening on an assigned day. Diaries were completed both online and by-mail using a paper diary. Online diaries were completed November 4-15, 2014 and diaries by-mail were completed October 14-20, 2014. Diaries were completed in both English and Spanish.

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 comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue.

Why Podcasting Is Bigger Than You Think

In Edison’s recent edition of our Share of Ear℠ study, we released a graph showing that nearly 2% of the total time spent listening to audio was devoted to podcast listening. There were some who may have seen that figure and thought it small. It is not small. Certainly, as a “share” of audio, you can compare it to the share of a popular television show and see straight away that we are talking about significant consumption. But we also have to look at the fact that podcasts are not consumed by 100% of Americans (even if they were, by the way, a 1.7% share of audio listening would still be remarkable). In fact, if we deduct the persons from this statistic who don’t listen to podcasts, we get a very notable figure indeed.

I investigated that exact figure in this, our first-but-hopefully-not-last Five Minute Webinar: Why Podcasting Is Bigger Than You Think. Give it a view!

Also, here is the Share of Ear℠ graph, based solely on podcast listeners:

podcast share of ear

The Infinite Dial 2014

The Infinite Dial 2014, the latest in this long-running series of studies on consumer adoption of digital media, was released today (see below for download information.) This new national survey from Edison Research and Triton Digital found that the weekly audience for all forms of online radio* is now 36% of all Americans age 12 and older, or 94 million nationally.

The study, released today, is the 22nd in a series of studies dating back to 1998. Among the many other findings:

• More than six in ten (61%) now own a smartphone; that number increases to approximately eight in ten age 18-34.

• Internet-only audio services continue to grow, led by Pandora — now consumed by 31% monthly. iTunes Radio debuts in The Infinite Dial with 8% monthly usage.

• Growth in the adoption of the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter has slowed this year, compared with previous editions of The Infinite Dial. Facebook usage is flat compared to 2013, at 58%, while Twitter grew slightly from 15% to 16% year-over-year.

• Podcasting is on the rise, as weekly audio podcast consumption grew 25% year-over-year, from 12% in 2013 to 15% in 2014.

• In-car usage of online radio and other forms of digital audio continues to grow. In 2014, 26% of mobile phone users have connected devices to a vehicle, either physically or via Bluetooth, up from 21% in 2013.

• Snapchat is now one of the leading social networking services; 53% of mobile phone users are familiar with Snapchat, while 13% of Americans 12+ — and 46% of 12-24 year-olds — use the image sharing service.

“The continued penetration of smartphones in America is changing behavior significantly,” noted Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing, Edison Research. “We are now seeing activities that were dominated by desktop usage in 2013, flip dramatically to become mobile behaviors. For millions of Americans, the smartphone has become ‘the first screen.’”

“The Internet of Things means audio in everything internet,” said Mike Agovino, COO, Triton Digital. “Scaling connectivity across a plethora of devices is enabling tremendous growth in online radio consumption. Listening levels have reached significant proportions across all demographic groups, and this year’s Infinite Dial study illustrates a definitive upward trajectory.”

Download The Infinite Dial 2014 from Edison Research and Triton Digital here.

The Infinite Dial 2014 from Tom Webster on Vimeo.

How the Study was Conducted

A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to explore Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media. From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.

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 comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. 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 a mid-stage technology company focused on the digital audio industry. More leading publishers – including CBS, Pandora, Entercom and Slacker – use the Triton platform to enrich their content and deliver it to a global audience than that of any other company. Triton’s Webcast Metrics product is the MRC-accredited industry standard in digital audio measurement. Its Ad Injector technology delivers billions of impressions to millions of streams each month. Its ad exchange, a2x, is the only programmatic audience buying platform for audio and has broad adoption across both publishers and agencies. Triton Digital creates meaningful, amplified connections between audio, audience, and advertisers.

* Online Radio = Listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the Internet.

The Podcast Consumer 2012

The Podcast Consumer 2012 is the seventh study in as many years of audio and video podcast consumption in America from Edison Research and Arbitron. This study is derived from the 20th study in the Edison/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Research series, and is based upon a national, representative sample of 2,020 Americans 12+. The study looks at demographics, usage and other behaviors related to podcast consumption and the podcast audience.

Among the main findings:

* The percentage of Americans who have ever listened to an audio podcast is 29%

* Similarly, 26% of Americans 12+ have ever viewed a video podcast

* The podcast audience is significantly more likely to have viewed television programming through non-traditional means

* One in four podcast consumers plug their MP3 players or smartphones into their car audio system “nearly every day”

This study was originally presented by Edison Research VP of Strategy and Marketing Tom Webster, and can be viewed and or downloaded below.

The Podcast Consumer 2012

View more presentations from Edison Research

How the study was conducted

A total of 2,020 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media. From January 20 to February 19, 2012, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older chosen at random from a national sample of Arbitron’s Fall 2011 survey diarykeepers and through random digit dialing (RDD) sampling in geographic areas where Arbitron diarykeepers were not available for the survey. Diarykeepers represent 45% of the completed interviews and RDD sampled respondents represent 55% of the completed interviews. The study includes a total of 500 cell phone interviews.