The Podcast Consumer 2017

The Podcast Consumer 2017, the latest in Edison’s annual study of the medium, contains all new data on podcast users in America, derived from the Infinite Dial 2017 study (conducted in partnership with Triton Digital) and the latest from Edison’s Share of Ear® research. This report charts the rise of podcasting over the past decade, and also includes new, unreleased information on the following:

• Demographics
• Podcast Consumption
• Device Usage
• Social Media Behaviors
• Other Media Behaviors
• The updated Share of Ear® for podcasting

Findings of this report include the following:

  • Podcasting continues to rise, with Monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% year over year.
  • The audience for podcasts continues to be predominately 18-54, and leans slightly male.
  • The Podcast listener remains an affluent, educated consumer— and one that is becoming increasingly more likely to gravitate to ad-free or ad-light subscription experiences.
  • Clicking on a podcast to listen to it immediately (either streamed or via progressive download) is the dominant paradigm for listening, though 27% do subscribe to podcasts.
  • Subscribers tend to have been podcast consumers for longer than non-subscribers, consume more podcasts, and are more likely to use their smartphone as their primary podcast player.
  • While Home continues to be the most often named location for podcast listening, the vehicle is a strong second.
  • Most podcast consumers listen to most of the podcast episodes they download, and the vast majority listen to at least most of each episode.
  • Podcasts are the number one audio source by time of consumption among podcast listeners.
  • On the smartphone, podcasting’s Share of Ear® is tied with AM/FM content, and leads AM/FM among 13-34 year olds.

Download the Podcast Consumer 2017 report here.

2017-04-18 14.01 The Podcast Consumer 2017 from Tom Webster on Vimeo.

Save The Date For The Podcast Consumer 2017

The Podcast Consumer 2017, the latest in an annual series of studies from Edison, will debut in a free webinar at 2PM on Tuesday, April 18th. Hosted by Edison VP of Strategy, Tom Webster, this 30-minute presentation will combine data from The Infinite Dial, Edison’s annual study of consumer habits presented in conjunction with Triton Digital, as well as new data from Edison’s Share of Ear® research.

To register for this event and receive a free copy of the report when it is published, click here.

Podcasting’s “Mobile” Listening At Home

Over the past couple of weeks since the publication of the 2017 Infinite Dial, one particular finding has prompted more questions from podcasters than any other: the data on listening location. When we asked people to name all the locations where they listen to podcasts, one location clearly stood out:

80% of podcast listeners said that “At Home” is one of the locations where they listen to podcasts. Not the only location. But the most commonly-named location. Furthermore, when we asked people to name the location where they listen most often to podcasts, “At Home” once again rose to the top of the list:

These data have been misinterpreted in a number of ways since we published The Infinite Dial 2017 just two weeks ago. First, I’ve seen it reported a number of times as “most podcasts are listened to at home,” which is not at all what it says and not necessarily true. We don’t survey podcasts; we survey humans. Most humans who listen to podcasts, tell us they listen to those podcasts at home, among other places. So this finding doesn’t speak to the percentage of podcasts or the amount of time spent listening to those podcasts in any way.

Most often, however, a number of podcast producers have challenged me in various fora about the amount of “mobile” listening they see in their own data. I’ve had someone with a podcast company say “At Home” can’t possibly be the most common location–after all, the vast majority of their podcasts are accessed by mobile devices (which, by the way, is a finding supported by our Infinite Dial data.) I’ve had others tell me that their listeners tell them that they listen in their cars, or on the go. Our research supports that, too. I’ve even had someone who produces a very popular podcast in a European capital city tell me that their podcast is almost exclusively consumed by “on the go” listeners. That’s probably true–and as we bring The Infinite Dial to other countries, we will no doubt see other results.

But for now, “At Home” listening is an important part of American podcast consumption. I’ve been a little surprised to see how many people have pushed back on this, to be honest, by citing their “mobile” numbers. There is no question that the mobile phone is the dominant device for podcast consumption. But a device is not a location. If you primarily listen to podcasts on your smartphone, that behavior is going to hold true whether you are on the bus, or on your couch. As my friend Mitch Joel is fond of saying, there is no “first” or “second” screen–there is only the screen in front of you. And for most of us, most of the time, that screen belongs to a smartphone equipped with a podcast listening client.

Certainly in-car listening is growing (19% of American drivers 18+ say they have listened to podcasts in their car, which is a pretty big number!) And we also shouldn’t be surprised to see “At Home” be larger than “At Work”–it would certainly be difficult for me to simultaneously do my job and engage with a lean-forward medium like a podcast! But for today, “At Home” listening–on a mobile device–remains the most often-cited listening location, and this should encourage podcast producers. After all, it is at home that any form of media has your full attention, and it is precisely that full attention that fosters engagement, loyalty, and (not unimportantly) recall of sponsors.

IAB – Edison Research Podcast Advertising Study 2016

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today released the “IAB-Edison Research Podcast Advertising Study,” a survey of nearly 1000 podcast listeners conducted in partnership with Edison Research, which finds that nearly two-thirds (65%) of fans are more willing to consider purchasing products and services they learn about during a podcast. Sixty percent also state that, given equal price and quality, they prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on their favorite podcasts.

The study shows that listeners prefer sponsorship messages and host mentions of products and services to pre-recorded advertisements during podcasts, emphasizing the advertising opportunity created by the personal relationship between podcast hosts and their audiences.

Podcast listeners often take action in direct response to hearing a sponsorship message or advertisement during a favorite podcast, including:

  • Visiting a sponsor’s web site (45%)
  • Considering a new product or service (42%)
  • Gathering more information about a product or company (37%)

The ability to listen to programs “whenever” they want was cited as a leading value proposition for podcast fans, with 76 percent saying that factor is of great importance. Other highly rated benefits were noted, such as:

  • The ability to listen to programs “wherever” they want (71% – very important)
  • The ability to listen on-demand (70% – very important)
  • The ability to listen to content that is unavailable on other platforms (58% – very important)

“Podcast audiences are devoted fans whose enthusiasm carries over to the companies that sponsor their favorite shows,” said Anna Bager, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobile and Video, IAB. “That ‘halo-effect’ is impressive. It is no surprise that more and more brands are including podcast strategies as part of their marketing mix.”

“These results quantify for the medium what we’ve seen in much of our client work,” noted Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy, Edison Research. “Podcast listeners not only don’t reject advertising in the medium, they are actually very receptive to the right message, delivered in the right environment.”

Methodology

The “IAB-Edison Research Podcast Advertising Study” is the result of an online survey of 953 Americans, ages 18+, who indicated that they “currently ever listen to podcasts.” The data were weighted and balanced to approximate the podcast audience using nationally representative figures from The Infinite Dial 2016 survey from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

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 IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. Together, they account for 86 percent of online advertising in the United States. Working with its member companies, the IAB develops technical standards and best practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. The organization is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the IAB advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. There are licensed IABs in 43 nations around the world and one regional IAB in Europe. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City and has a West Coast office in San Francisco.

Ethnic Composition of Podcast Listeners

The Increasing Ethnic Diversity Of Podcast Listeners

We have been tracking the demographics of the Podcast listener for over a decade now, and there have been significant changes over that time. In the early days of the medium, Podcasting was disproportionally a medium for white males, ages 25-44. Much of that “skew” was down to the available content options, but today, the content universe for Podcasts has exploded, and the diversity of programming available rivals any other form of audio.

As a result, the racial/ethnic diversity of the Podcast audience has increased, and today, the Podcast universe is every bit as diverse as America–and perhaps even more so, in some interesting ways.

Here is a comparison of the ethic composition of Podcast listeners from 2011 and 2016:

Ethnic Composition of Podcast Listeners

Two things stand out here. First of all, the Podcast audience is growing increasingly non-white, with white listeners shrinking from 68% in 2011 to 63% in 2016. Also, the percentage of African-American listeners has not only grown, but also over-indexes from the U.S. Population, which is currently around 12% African-American. Again, much of this is due to the increasing diversity of content available.

The early promise of Podcasting was the “democratization of broadcasting,” giving everyone who wanted to be heard, a voice. Clearly, that promise is coming true.