The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

Spoken Word Audio Share in the U.S. is Up 20% Since 2014, Cutting Into Time Spent with Music

Click here to download the New Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period decreased 5%. This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups, and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34. These findings are part of The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, presented today in a webinar hosted by Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite.

This new Report examines listener behaviors and preferences related to spoken word audio – podcasts, news, sports, talk radio and audiobooks – and includes five years of previously unreleased data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study. Key findings from the Spoken Word Audio Report include:

  • 121 million Americans listen to spoken word audio each day, an increase of 16 million people in the last five years. 
  • Growth in spoken word listening has been greatest among young people: those age 13-34 now spend 19% of their audio time with spoken word audio (up 58% from 2014).
  • Mobile technology use is driving growth in spoken word audio category: 22% of listening to spoken word audio in 2019 is now on a mobile device, compared to 9% five years ago.
  • Spoken word audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers, with large percentages of consumers reporting they turn to spoken word audio content for information, inspiration, entertainment, and companionship.
  • 59% of spoken word audio listeners are digital-first, meaning they listen most through computers, mobile devices, and smart speakers. Forty-one percent are analog-first, meaning they listen most through AM/FM radio receivers.

“Public media accounts for a large share of spoken word audio listening. New technologies like smart speakers, the ubiquity of mobile devices, and increased connectivity, mean that NPR’s journalism and storytelling is reaching more listeners in new spaces and platforms,” says NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite.  

According to Edison Research Vice President Megan Lazovick, “Spoken word audio is different. Spoken word can be vastly more intensive listening experience than other types of audio. People lean in — they truly listen. Twenty-four percent of all time spent listening to audio is going to spoken word, and that’s especially impressive considering where it was just five years ago.”

Click here to download the New Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

How the study was conducted:
Spoken Word Audio Study: A total of 3,013 online interviews were conducted with persons age 18+ using a nationally representative sample. Respondents qualified for the survey by consuming spoken word audio at least monthly. Data weighted to national 18+ U.S. population estimates. Additionally, in-person interviews were conducted with individuals who listened to spoken word audio at least monthly.

Edison Research Share of Ear®: A total of 4,000 respondents age 13+ completed an online or offline survey which was offered in English and Spanish. Data weighted to national 12+ U.S. population estimates and has been tracked since 2014.

 

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients including AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. The national tracking study The Infinite Dial® and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of the most widely cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space.  Edison’s network of more than 20,000 experienced interviewers allows the company to conduct research in almost any location. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool. For the 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News. 

About NPR
NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now it’s easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, “Play NPR,” and you’ll be tuned into your local Member station’s live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

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Contacts, Press Only:  

 

Laura Ivey  

Edison Research  

(908) 707-4707  

livey@edisonresearch.com  

 

Devon Landis

National Public Media at NPR

(202) 513-3490

dlandis@nationalpublicmedia.com

The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research – Save the Date

Click here to register for The Spoken Word Audio Report 2019 webinar from NPR and Edison Research.

On average, Americans age 13+ listen to about 4 hours of audio every day, with the largest share of time spent with AM/FM radio (Edison Research, Share of Ear®, 2019). While this may seem par for the course, the audio landscape is changing dramatically, and it’s not just about new technologies and distribution formats, either. The type of content people are listening to is shifting. 

You are invited to join Meg Goldthwaite, Chief Marketing Officer from NPR, and Megan Lazovick, Vice President from Edison Research, on November 12 at 2pm ET as they host a live, online presentation of the findings from the first-ever Spoken Word Audio Report.  The report explores consumer behavior in the spoken word audio category, which has seen substantial growth in recent years. 

Register for this free webinar for early access to this new Report.

During this webinar you’ll learn:

-How the spoken word audio category has changed in the last five years 

-How the balance between music and spoken word content consumption is shifting

-The role spoken word audio plays in consumers’ lives today – from where people listen to when people listen

-What people are looking for from spoken word content on different platforms 

…and more!

The Spoken Word Audio Report is derived from a national quantitative survey and analysis of in-depth, one-on-one interviews. It also includes five years of previously unreleased tracking data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study, measuring the daily listening habits of Americans using a 24-hour diary.

Do Voters Consider Candidate Age?

by Edison Research Vice President Mary Meyn

When President Trump was sworn into office at the age of 70 on January 20, 2017, he became the oldest person to begin his first term as President. Previously, that record was held by President Ronald Reagan who was 69 when he was sworn in for his first term. With Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton also approaching 70, age was part of the political conversation, but not a significant factor during the 2016 campaign.

However, as the Democrats select their nominee, age has again become an issue in presidential politics. The three leading candidates according to recent polling – Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders – are all in their seventies.  If one of those candidates becomes the nominee, both of the major party candidates running for President will be more than 70 years old.

Age has been a campaign issue in other elections, and the Exit Polls provide a historical look back on voters’ opinions on the subject. (Click the following graphic to enlarge.)

 

At the time of the 2008 election, John McCain, the Republican Presidential nominee, was 72 and Barack Obama was 47.  Sixty percent of voters said that the age of the candidates was not a factor in their vote for president, according to the Exit Poll.  The 40% of voters who said that age was a factor in their vote, whether it was the most important factor or a minor one, voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. John McCain ultimately lost the national vote by 7%.

In 1996, Bob Dole was the Republican Presidential nominee.  Had he been elected President, he would have been 73 years old at the time of his swearing in.  The 1996 Exit Poll asked voters if Bob Dole’s age would interfere with his ability to effectively serve as President, and 64% of voters said no, it would not. Bob Dole lost the election to Bill Clinton by 9% of the national vote.

Age was also an issue in the political career of Strom Thurmond, who served as a US Senator from South Carolina until he retired at age 100, making him the oldest Senator.  In his 1996 reelection campaign, Thurmond was 93 years old.  While Thurmond ultimately won reelection in a landslide (by a 31% margin), 55% of South Carolina voters did think that age would interfere with his ability to serve effectively as Senator.

While we don’t know yet how much of a factor age will be in the 2020 Presidential election, we can look to exit polls in previous elections for a historical perspective.

About Edison Research 
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients including AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. The national tracking study The Infinite Dial® and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of the most widely cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space.  Edison’s network of more than 20,000 experienced interviewers allows the company to conduct research in almost any location. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool. For the 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News. 

The Power Of Audio: How Moms Use Audio for Self-Care and Inspiration

Last week in front of a wonderfully supportive crowd at M2M: The Marketing to Mom’s Conference, VP Megan Lazovick shared new data from The Research Moms of Edison Research, in addition to the following confession:

Last night before my presentation, while I probably should have been rehearsing, I was instead leading a brownie meeting of thirteen seven-year-old girls. We made friendship bracelets and decided our troop cause this year would be to help save the sea turtles. People told me I was crazy to become a girl scout leader, given I’m often traveling the country to conduct focus groups and in-person interviews as part of the qualitative research I do for my company and our clients. But the funny thing about being a mom, at least for me, is that it comes with this incredible drive do things, things you never thought you’d ever do, all for these little people in your lives. And while I’m happy to give my time, I do notice that there is definitely a lack of time to myself. And that’s probably true for many of you moms in the room. And it’s true of the women that I meet when I’m conducting those qualitative interviews I mentioned. So, let me introduce you to some of the moms I have met:

The need for something to “stimulate the mind and heart” and the emotional connection moms have with audio, that’s what I’d like to talk about today but let’s first touch on something else we heard in that video: “survival mode.” Those words hit home for me. Because when you are a busy mom, unfortunately, sometimes just making it through the day is enough. We sometimes have to celebrate the small victories, right?

A few years ago the moms at my company Edison Research formed a division called The Research Moms. In addition to the work we do for our clients interested in moms’ research, twice a year our mom squad comes together to conduct research about moms, just because we feel like it. The mental and physical load of moms is something the research moms of Edison research recently explored in our study called Moms on the Mother Load.  In this survey of over 500 moms, we learned that 84% of moms say they handle the majority of the parenting responsibilities. Now, I just have to say, that it is extremely satisfying to settle an argument with your husband about the division of household labor, by fielding a national study of Americans.

But, this study told The Research Moms what we already suspected, that women are also primarily responsible for the majority of household chores. They have a lot on their minds: 89% of moms are primarily responsible for making doctors appointments for kids, 87% fill out school forms, and 83% are primarily responsible for arranging childcare. Bringing children to the doctor, packing for vacation, grocery shopping, laundry, assigning household chores, helping with homework… all of these are primarily moms’ responsibilities. So with all of these things on mom’s plate, when does mom find the time for self-reflection? For inspiration? For relaxation? And what exactly is this “me time” I keep hearing about? If a mom is going to get any of that – it must fall within the cracks of her already busy day and here’s where audio comes into the picture.

We have found that moms are spending more time with audio. Our Moms and Media report sources data from Edison Research’s Infinite Dial– a study that has been tracking a whole range of digital media consumption habits and behaviors for the past 22 years! Now I’ll just share the last few years of listening questions, but we’ll see that more moms are spending time with audio. Seventy-eight percent of moms are weekly AM/FM radio listeners. Online audio listening has been steadily rising with moms – from 74% in 2016 to 87% today. And the world of podcasting has been extremely exciting in recent years, growing rapidly from 37% of moms who listen in 2016 to well over a majority today. Audiobook listening has seen growth as well, as on-demand services have made them easier to access — 46% of moms listened to audiobooks in 2017 and 59% of moms listen today.

And while you might think of video when you think of YouTube – it’s actually really strong for music listening. Seventy-seven percent of moms use YouTube to listen to music. So as new technologies have made audio easier to access, moms are using audio more – especially on-demand audio.

Now, one of the most fascinating findings of 2019, in my opinion, came out of a study we did for the country radio industry called Parents, Teens and Country Music. Almost 60 percent of moms in our national survey said that they learned about at least one music streaming service from their teenager. But this isn’t just about awareness, is it? We found consistently in our studies that when it comes to technology or new things to do on the phone, the transfer of information was much greater from child-to-parent than the other way around. The teens are pulling parents to Spotify or Apple or Pandora. Here’s a peek at how teens are influencing their parents.

We also learned from that study that 76% of moms of teens agree that their teenagers assist them with new technology.  And one of the most exciting developments in the audio space in the past few years has been consumer adoption of smart speakers – devices such as the Amazon Alexa or Google Home. In partnership with NPR, we have done a lot of research about these devices in our The Smart Audio Report series. In the three years, we have been conducting the research, we have seen it go from 6% of moms owning a smart speaker in 2016 to 34% moms in 2019 —which is pretty amazing growth. And one of the first things we noticed was that 45% of those that own a smart speaker have children in the household. These devices are especially appealing to families.

As part of our research with NPR we decided to go into the homes of smart speaker owners to see how the devices are changing behavior in the home. I’d like to introduce you a precious family. Lizzie let us into her home when her baby was just five weeks old.

If you’re someone who hasn’t experienced how truly helpful these devices can be then that video of Lizzie juggling a baby and a peanut butter sandwich might drive the point home. Whether it is audio from your google home, or an old-fashioned radio, audio has this one quality that any mom can appreciate: it is great for multitasking.

Here’s all the things that moms are doing while listening to audio according to the 2019 Research Moms Report:

•  90% are in the car

•  82% are doing housework or chores

•  73% are cooking or baking

•  69% of Moms listen to audio when they are spending time with children

The point is that, audio is the perfect companion for a busy mom. And why does mom like to listen to audio? Well, if you live your life in survival mode – you are even more desperate for something that “stimulates the mind and heart.”

Here are the things moms are looking for when they listen to audio: 46% of moms say they frequently listen to be entertained, 38% frequently listen for relaxation. Others say it gives them energy. It’s an Espace. Reminds them of the good times in life. It keeps them company. It allows them to express emotions or become inspired.

Now, I toned down the title of this presentation to “The emotional power of audio” but I originally titled this presentation: How Moms Use Audio for Self-Care and Inspiration, While Still Getting Sh*t Done. Because moms are true multitaskers. And audio is the perfect media for the multitasker. Can you make the mundane and sometimes maddening chore of matching and folding socks inspirational? The right audio program can. That is the power of audio. And who wouldn’t want to align their brand with such powerful content?

We asked moms, “When a product or service is advertised on an audio program you listen to, how, if at all, is your opinion of the of the company or brand affected?” Thirty percent of moms said somewhat more favorable and another 19% said much more favorable. This indicates there is some goodwill toward brands that appear on these programs.

We also asked, “When a radio personality or a podcast host recommends a product or service, how is your opinion of the company or brand affected?” And again about half the moms sad it made their opinion of the brand somewhat or much more favorable. We know that when you have loyal listeners, a show’s personality or host has a tremendous amount of influence. Let’s listen to our panel of moms once again on the topic of advertising:

So, what does this tell us? For me, it’s simple. When a brand is properly aligned with the programming and the execution is women-friendly, women will be engaged with the advertising. And, we know this from the dozens of brand lift studies that we conduct every year for various podcast producers. We’ve seen smashing successes when an advertiser takes the time to craft messaging that is relevant to the audience. But, we’ve also seen utter failures when an advertiser just repurposes advertising from another medium and doesn’t take the care to make it podcast-friendly. So, not every advertiser belongs on every podcast, or playlist, or station. And the right buy can make all the difference.

And I know I’ve been hitting you with a lot of data points from a lot of different studies but I have one last point to help put this all into perspective. Our Share of Ear® report is a diary study that measures all the time that Americans are listening to audio in a day. On average, moms listen to four hours of audio a day. Now, that’s an average, so some are listening to a lot less than four hours and some are listening to a lot more than four hours. But ON AVERAGE, moms listen to 4 hours of audio. That’s a lot of opportunities to reach moms. And that’s an opportunity to sponsor programming that is meaningful to them, that inspires them, and that is a part of what keeps them sane.

We know EVERYONE wants mom’s attention: the dog, the kids, the partner, the PTA. That’s a lot of clutter that you have to cut through. I hear all this hype about self-care…Self-care does not happen before a mom is finished caring for everyone and everything else. Yes, I’ve heard the lectures about how moms should take time out for themselves and good for you if you can make it happen. But, the reality of everyday life is that you sometimes have to grab the self-care in the in-between moments. And audio is in the between – or the layer on top of the chores that makes the chores more bearable. So, align yourself with the part of mom’s day that makes things better. The part that makes the boring parts of motherhood less mundane.

I mentioned the premise of this presentation to my coworker who I have been working with for over a decade. She said, “You know what – I listen to audio whenever I clean the house. It actually makes me look forward to cleaning!” I said, “Actually, I really need to organize my closet and I can’t wait because I want to listen to the new Dolly Parton podcast.” We both laughed, thinking about how we would never have such a conversation before we became moms. And you know what? Life is different then it used to be, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And to be honest, I am really looking forward to saving the sea turtles with my Girl Scouts. I should see if there’s a podcast on the topic.

Click here to download The Power Of Audio: How Moms Use Audio for Self-Care and Inspiration

Super Listeners 2019 from PodcastOne and Edison Research

Weekly podcast listeners who consume more than five hours of podcasts per week are the subject of the first-ever Super Listeners study from PodcastOne and Edison Research. These podcasting “Super Listeners,” podcasting’s heaviest listeners, have emerged as valuable targets for advertisers and trusted allies for podcast sponsors according to this groundbreaking study.

• Seventy percent of Super Listeners say they have considered a new product or service as a result of hearing an ad on a podcast.

• More than half (57%) of Super Listeners consume more than 8 hours per week of podcast content, which means their potential exposure to podcast advertising is high relative to the rest of the podcast audience.

The topline findings from the study were debuted last week at the IAB Podcast Upfront in New York, and complete findings were presented in a live, online presentation earlier today by PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris and Edison Research SVP Tom Webster.

According to Edison Research Senior Vice President, Tom Webster, “We were very eager to look at the heaviest users of podcasting as a kind of “early warning system” for the efficacy of podcasting advertisement, since they will have had more exposure to podcast advertising than anyone. What we found was that not only don’t they mind podcast ads—they actually have a very positive effect, which is even more remarkable when you consider that Super Listeners are otherwise engaging in active ad avoidance behavior.”

“As the industry leader, we wanted to provide this first of its kind study to deliver meaningful details on the habits of podcasting’s most loyal consumers. We believe this will be a great benefit to the industry as a whole,” said PodcastOne CEO, Peter Morris. “Edison is the recognized authority for research in podcasting. We’re proud to be the first podcast company to work with them, beginning when PodcastOne was founded in 2012, and continue to do so to ensure our advertising partners receive the best audience insights and analysis to maximize their campaign goals.”

• Despite the fact that 50% of Super Listeners are actively trying to limit their exposure to commercials across all video and audio platforms, 44% agree that they pay more attention to advertising on podcasts than other media, and 37% say podcasts are the best way for an advertiser to reach them.

• Six in ten Super Listeners appreciate podcast advertisers for supporting their favorite podcasts, and 44% say they think more positively about companies that advertise on the podcasts they regularly listen to.

• Super Listeners identify podcasts as the mainstream medium least likely to have too many ads; however, nearly half (49%) indicate that they have noticed an increase in podcast advertising over the last year. Thirty-five percent of Super Listeners perceive that advertising breaks in podcasts have gotten longer; 59% believe that they have not changed. Thus, the industry must be cognizant to maintain the premium element of these ads.

This industry-wide study showcases the power of podcasting’s most active consumers, including how they react to advertising, the role ads play in their listening experience, and what the industry must be cautious about in maximizing advertising impact. The presentation is now available for download and the webinar is available for viewing.

Click here to download Super Listeners 2019 from PodcastOne and Edison Research.

For more information, visit PodcastOne or Edison Research.

About PodcastOne
PodcastOne, (www.PodcastOne.com) the nation’s leading advertiser-supported podcast network, was founded by Norman Pattiz, founder of radio-giant Westwood One. The network currently hosts more than 300 of today’s most popular podcasts, including Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Austin, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Dan Patrick, A&E’s Cold Case, Spencer and Heidi Pratt, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Scheana Shay, Heather and Terry Dubrow, Jim Harbaugh, Ladygang, Dr. Drew, Chael Sonnen, Rich Eisen, Barbara Boxer and hundreds more.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients including AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. The national tracking study The Infinite Dial® and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of the most widely cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space. Edison’s network of more than 20,000 experienced interviewers allows the company to conduct research in almost any location. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool. For the 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News.