The Next Frontier in Podcasting: 100 Million Listeners

Edison Research’s Senior Vice President Tom Webster presented a keynote address, The Next Frontier in Podcasting: 100 Million Listeners, at the 2018 Podcast Movement conference in Philadelphia last week. Podcast Movement is the world’s largest gathering of podcasters, and attendees were the first to hear the results of new research from Edison on consumers who are familiar with the term “podcasting” but have never listened to a podcast.

The number of Americans who are familiar with the term “podcasting” has dramatically increased in the past several years, but there are far fewer people who actually listen.

  • 64% of Americans aged 18+, a total of 180 million people, are familiar with the term “podcasting” in 2018. That’s up from 22% in 2006.
  • The number of people who actually listened to a podcast in the last week is significantly smaller than those who are familiar with the term. Only 17% of Americans aged 18+, a total of 48 million people, in 2018 have listened to a podcast in the last week.

The key to moving from 48 million weekly podcast listeners to the 100 million mark is understanding why those people familiar with the term “podcasting” have never listened.

 

Some of the reasons uncovered are actual barriers, such as not understanding how to listen to a podcast, and some are perceived barriers, such as the belief that podcasts use a great deal of a phone’s data.

Thirty-seven percent of those who are familiar with the term “podcasting” but have never listened, say they don’t really understand what a podcast is, and almost half say they are not sure how to listen to a podcast.

 

 

Despite the fact that many smartphones in the U.S. have pre-installed podcast apps, 80% of those who have never listened to a podcast believe that they don’t have a podcast app. In addition to perceived barriers with hardware when it comes to podcasts, there are misperceptions about the amount of data a podcast might use. Sixty-two percent say that listening to podcasts can use up a lot of their phone’s data plan.

The research was conducted with a sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+, using an online survey. All respondents were familiar with podcasting. The data was weighted toThe Infinite Dial , the longest-running study of consumer usage of media and technology from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

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