SheListens: Insights on Women Podcast Listeners

Click here to download SheListens: Insights on Women Podcast Listeners

Edison Research Senior Vice President Melissa Kiesche gave the following presentation on October 12 at She Podcasts LIVE in Atlanta.

It’s 9am on Saturday morning. While I know that pie charts and bar graphs may not be everyone’s favorite (although, totally mine!), I love that it is data that can help frame our conversations and direct change.

My talk today is entitled – SheListens. While we’ve spent much of the last day or so focused on how to encourage more women to host, produce, write and edit, what we can also do as women in this industry is to bring more women listeners to all this fabulous women-created content.

Thirteen years ago, we added podcast questions to our annual Infinite Dial® study.  In 2006 the ONLY way to listen to a podcast was to search for content and then listen on your computer speakers or download it to your iPod. It was a tech-heavy ask for people who were used to just popping in a CD, or tuning their radio dial or maybe listening to an Internet radio station via their desktop. So, it makes sense that this was an industry born from the depths of male tech culture.

In addition, content was forever heavily male focused, so it’s not really surprising that women have lagged far behind in their interest in and adoption of podcasting. But, for the most part, these barriers have gone away. You can listen to podcasts in a dozen different ways – none of which require you to use one device to download to another. And, anyone that has spent any time looking at podcasts on iTunes or Spotify knows that there is ample content out there for anyone and everyone.

So, why is it that women are still lagging behind men when it comes to listening? We’re going to spend a little time today on this. We’ll look at women who are familiar with podcasting, but are NOT listeners, as well as compare some key podcast metrics between men and women listeners.

Beyond the buttoned up quantitative research we do, we take a lot of pride our qualitative research – it really gives us a chance to get in front of podcast listeners and pick their brains about their listening habits.

To go back a moment, for those of you that are unfamiliar with our Infinite Dial study. It’s really our flagship study, where we track a whole range of digital media consumption habits and behaviors and have been doing so for 22 years. It’s a nationally representative study, conducted using the highest standards in market research.

And, for podcasting, Infinite Dial has become the industry’s annual report card. An opportunity to understand where we came from and hypothesize on where we are going.

So, let’s start with the good news. All those metrics I talked about, they are up! We were super excited this year to say that after years of 1-2 percentage point increases, now over half of Americans (144 million people) say they have EVER listened to a podcast.

 

That’s a seven-percentage point increase over last year. And, just under one-third of Americans (90 million people) say they have listened to a podcast in the last month. A six-percentage point increase over last year.

But, today we’re talking about listeners who identify as women. And, when you break it down, we see that women are quite a bit less likely to have listened in the last month: 36% of Men vs. 29% of Women have listened in the last month.

This means that when you look at the composition of monthly podcast listeners, 54% are Men and 46% are Women.

 

And yet, the familiarity of the term podcasting is just about equal – 72% of Men and 69% of Women are familiar with the term, where up until 3 years ago, there was about a 10 percentage point gap.

So, while the gap is closing, Why the persistent lag? If they know what a podcast is, why haven’t they tried listening?

What’s unique about women in terms of their consumption habits, their content preferences? What can we learn about women that will help convert them from a non-listener to a listener and from a casual listener to a more voracious one?

Let’s start with those who are familiar with podcasting, but are not listeners. We had the opportunity to sit down with people who were familiar with the term podcasting but did not listen. So, let’s learn more about the non-listeners.

It was those conversations that lead us to include questions to non-listeners in our annual study. So, we asked people if the following were reasons they did NOT listen to podcasts.

 

First off, which I think is great news, is that this does NOT seem to be a content problem. Women are LESS likely to say that there aren’t podcasts that cover topics they are interested in. So, even non-listeners are aware of all that is out there for them to listen to.

But, much of this suggests there is still a bit of a tech hurdle to gain additional women listeners. And, for sure, that was originally the case. But, that is now starting to go away. A podcast app is NOT the only way to listen to a podcast. In addition to apps, listeners can access content via Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and direct links on social.

And, as the content (that you are all producing!) continues to get out into the world it will be worth it for new listeners to do whatever they need to do to access that content.

Now, back to our actual listeners. For Podcast Movement this year, we took a deeper look at Rookie monthly podcast listeners (those who started listening in the last six months) and veteran monthly listeners (started listening 3 or more years ago). We wanted to see the difference between those who have been dedicated listeners for years and those who are just getting started.

And as part of that study, we sat down with some veteran and rookie listeners and this is what they said.

After defining the length of listenership for the groups, one of the first things we looked at was the gender composition of each group. And, let me tell you, my colleagues and I practically leaped in air when we took a look.

So, let’s start with those veteran listeners – 63% are men and only 37% are women. Now, look at the rookies – 47% are men, but the majority, 53% are women.

This is the number excites me the most. It says we are at a tipping point! And, I feel it every day in my household. I have twin daughters – they are five. When we get in the car, the FIRST thing they ask is for me to turn on a podcast!

When asked if they might like music instead, they’ll choose the podcast every single time. And, as an aside, the content they choose is about a gal-powered as you can get.  I did a quickie content analysis on all their favorite shows and of their top shows eight of the ten feature a female host, co-host or in the case of a fictional podcast, a female protagonist.

So, while they may not qualify to take our survey for another seven years or so, I know their listening (and that of their peers), will help to rocket women listenership farther.

And, when women become listeners they are committed to the cause!

Women are listening to just about as many podcasts on average per week as men – 7.2 podcasts vs. 6.8 podcasts.  They also subscribe to just about as many podcasts as men (3.2 vs. 3.4 on average) but, more impressively, they are on average doing more hours of listening then men – 7.3 hours vs. 5.9 hours.

While women are less likely to download and listen to a podcast within 48 hours – 72% of women vs. 83% of men, they eventually listen to 76% of all the podcasts they download (same as men at 77%). Women are also a bit more likely to listen to the entire podcast (54% of women vs. 52% of men). And, again, super impressively, women are more likely to say they are listening to MORE podcasts than one year ago – 45% of women vs. 39% of men.

Now, why do women say they are listening to podcasts? We asked seven different reasons why they might listen and this is how they ranked:

And, everyone knows that women are the ULTIMATE multi-taskers. On any given Saturday, you can find me loading groceries out of my cart at checkout and responding to an urgent work email, while simultaneously leading my daughters in a sorting activity – red fruits in one bag, boxed items in another.

So, this next stat is right in line: 75% of men say they ever listen to a podcast while not doing anything else, while only 65% of women listeners say the same. So, women are a bit more likely to sometimes be multi-tasking while listening. They are consuming your content, while still going about their day-to-day. And to many of them, it’s the soundtrack of their day.

We recently talked to a group of moms about how they listen to podcasts and how it fits in to their daily lives.

Our next video brings up discovery – we know why women listen, but how is it that they discover what they are listening to. Let’s watch.

While women and men discover podcasts in many of the same ways, their primary means of discovery is quite different. Women are more likely to use “recommendations from friends and family” as their primary source of finding out about podcasts– 25% vs. 18% (#1 among women and #2 among men).

Women are social. They are far more likely overall to use social media and women podcast listeners are no exception. Women listeners are more likely to use ANY social media than men listeners – 96% vs. 87%, especially Facebook 80% vs. 58%,  Instagram 57% vs. 43% and  Pinterest 59% vs. 21%.

And, for podcast discovery social media really just becomes an extension of their recommendations from friends and family. Nineteen percent of women listeners use social media as their primary means vs. 14% (#2 among women and #3 among men). So, that means that 44% of women say their primary means of podcast discovery is via recommendations or social media compared to only 32% of men.

What’s the number one means of podcast discovery for men? Far and above, it’s searching the Internet. Over a third (34%) of men listeners say it’s the number one way that they discover new podcasts, while only 18% of women listeners use it as their primary means.

We also asked people what topics they would be interested in listening to on podcasts. And, while there are some commonalities here in the top ten (e.g music, news/information, entertainment/celebrity/gossip, history, mystery/thriller and true crime), what’s most striking here is that wellness/self-improvement tops the list for the type of content that women would be interested in listening to on podcasts. It’s number one for women and not even in the top ten for men. And, then, we have food at number three for women and again, not breaking the top ten for men.

And, while we learned before that women are well aware of all the content available out there, the Top Ten lists on both Apple, Spotify and Stitcher are not exactly reflecting the content preferences of women listeners.

Take a look at the Top Ten on Apple Podcasts.  I think we can say we have True Crime covered! Five of the top ten podcasts fall into that genre. Only ONE podcast makes the cut as a Wellness/Self-Improvement podcast and that’s The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos. And, that one just launched on September 17th – so fingers crossed it remains a success.

The next Wellness/Self-Improvement-related podcast doesn’t show up on the list until #21 and that’s Dax Sheppard’s ArmChair Expert. No where do I see a food-related podcast.

Same patterns on both the Spotify and Stitcher Top Twenty.

Equally as important as the content is the advertising included in each episode. And, while I know that many of you have not yet taken on advertisers yet, if you do, this is key. So, I end with a bit of a warning – maybe more of a challenge than a warning. In addition to understanding why and how they listen, I also felt compelled to understand how women perceive advertising on podcasts.

And, in my own humble opinion, advertisers don’t always do the best job in appealing to women on podcasts. So, when I saw this data (while it made me cringe), I was not surprised. Women are less likely to consider a brand advertised on a podcast than men. Only 38% of women vs. over half (52%) of men are at least somewhat likely to consider them.

At Edison Research, we host a Podcast Club (book club for podcasts) and our September listen was To Live and Die in LA. Their main advertiser was SimpliSafe –a security system for your home. Right on, right? Great connection between podcast about a murder and beefing up your home security so you feel safer.

But, another advertiser, who popped up later in the series, was Zola.com. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Zola is a wedding planning website. Women just LOVE hearing about a wedding planning site while unraveling the mystery of whether or not a man brutally murdered the woman with whom he was cheating in order to hide the affair from his fiancé.Cue the cringes of every woman in our Podcast Club.

But, there is a little light on this topic. And, it comes in the way of video we put together of women discussing audio advertising.

So, what does this tell us? For me, it’s simple. When a brand is properly aligned with a podcast and the execution is women-friendly, women can be equally as engaged with the advertising.

And, we know this from the dozens of brand lift studies we conduct every year. 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. And, even if it is a product or service equally purchased by men and women, how that product is represented in a women-friendly podcast can and should be different. Tell the advertiser about your audience. You know who they are what they want to hear.

Conclusions

Let it be known that our differences as women hosts, producers, writers, editors (and market researchers) are our STRENGTHS. Being a woman involved in making all this content puts you in a powerful position to continue to move women’s listenership numbers in the right direction.

This is industry that is growing. As you saw, all the awareness and listening metrics have gone up, but there is still a gap between men and women. But, heck yea, rookie listeners are more likely to be women!

Let us not forget. Women are social creatures and they rely on their personal and social networks as their main means for discovery. Lean into that – create a community. If you are not already heavy on social, you need to increase your efforts there.

Also, that same listening gap between women and men is reflected pretty clearly in those Top Podcasts lists. We saw — women have different content preferences and the Top lists don’t yet mirror that. Let’s make sure we are producing what women want. Again, this is your strength. Women are undeniably going to be better at producing content for women.

And finally, advertising is just as important as the actual content. Push your sponsors to give you copy or the liberty to create copy that is appropriate for your listeners. Take on sponsors that speak to the desires of your audience. Sell to your advertisers that being a woman –producer gives you a leg up in knowing what women want.

For more on podcast research done by Edison Research, click here. 

Edison Research’s Top Ten Findings from 2019 (so far)

Edison Research Director of Research Laura Ivey presented the following at the RAIN Summit in Dallas on September 24, 2019. 

We are a society that loves lists. We love to condense information into smaller pieces because we live in a world where we are overwhelmed by information. Lists bring order to chaos. Plus, they help us focus and get things accomplished.

So with that in mind, I am pleased to present Edison Research’s Top 10 Findings from 2019 (so far).

On top of the custom research we do for clients’ internal usage, we at Edison are fortunate to do a number of studies designed for public consumption all about the worlds of media and audio. We have taken thousands of data points across hundreds of graphs generated from telephone interviews, listening diaries, online surveys, and videos from qualitative interviews, and curated for you what we think are the most worthwhile findings from our major studies so far in 2019.

You may have seen one or more of these findings before, but you have seen them in the context of their own studies. When we examine them together, suddenly a story of how Americans use audio clicks into focus.

So here we go, our Top 10 Findings –not in order of importance, but in an order that tells the story of Audio in 2019.

Number 10: The number of people listening to online audio, and their time spent listening to online audio continues to grow. 

This finding is from the Infinite Dial U.S. study, a study we have been doing since 1998, for the last number of years with our wonderful partners at Triton Digital.  Infinite Dial measures consumer audio behavior – the name The Infinite Dial conceptualizes a dial that starts on AM and FM but then stretches far beyond, with as many audio choices as can be invented. Graphs don’t get much more clear than this when it comes to tracking an upward trend. Sixty percent of Americans, about 169 million people age 12+, have listened to online audio in the past week. There is still room to grow here since at 60%, we are clearly not yet at a saturation point.

You can see that online listening was in single digits for the first several years we measured it, then grew but stayed pretty flat for a while, then 2007 saw the birth of the iPhone, and after users and developers figured out some of its capabilities, you can see how the number of listeners grew, and then just took off.

Not only are more people listening, but the TIME they are listening is also increasing. This year, among those who said they consume online audio, we see an average weekly reported time spent listening of 16 hours and 43 minutes.  Compare that to what we saw ten years ago when a much smaller base of consumers also reported a lot less listening. This is for all online audio, so keep in mind this could be spoken word programming such as podcasts, as well as music, or streaming of radio stations.

 

 

Incidentally, we have found that there are differences in the online audio brand preferences of the 12-34 year-olds versus the 25-54s. Spotify is the audio brand that most 12-24 year-olds have listened to in the past month, while Pandora takes the top spot for 25-54s, but we see increases across all ages.

 

 

 

Number 9: Despite what you just saw, AM/FM Listening is almost exclusively over-the-air…still.

This finding is from our Share of Ear® study, which is a national study of the time Americans spend with various types of audio.  Share of Ear is not a public study, but we do publish various findings from time to time.

Now is a good time for me to disclose my personal radio bias. My first job was in the late ’80s at my hometown radio station, WCRK. We used to joke that it stood for We Can’t Reach Knoxville, but radio was my first love, and I have been involved in some aspect of the radio industry or media measurement ever since, so I am always interested in how radio is moving forward.

Let’s take this back to 2014 when only 5% of AM/FM listening was done via streaming. In the past 5 and a half years we have growth in streaming services, the explosion of smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, the inexpensive access to unlimited data plans, and all of these changes have resulted in an increase of AM/FM listening done via streaming…by a whopping three percentage points.

Today, 92% of AM/FM listening is still done over the air, not online. And we have actually seen no growth at all in the portion of radio listening that happens online since the end of 2017.

This is also a great example of why we do research. Because logically, given no research, you would assume that more listeners have migrated to a streaming platform for radio.  We look at this graph and we have to think why not? Why are we not moving listeners to stream radio content? Well, figuring out how to listen to favorite FM stations on a non-radio device can be difficult. Also, we know a great deal of listening is done in-car, and that radio listening is much more likely to be over-the-air instead of streamed.  Does anyone think that listening via AM or FM will increase?  We believe it will decrease unless people start choosing radio content on their phones or computers or smart speakers in bigger numbers.

The next finding can be compared to the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, if you will, and it comes to us from the Share of Ear study, which, remember, measures time spent listening.

Number 8: Looking forward to the ghost of Christmas future, our young listeners. Young people spend 27% of their audio time with AM/FM Radio.

Let’s work backward, with our ghost of Christmas past, if you will — what the world looked like when one could pretty much only listen to owned music like CDs or the radio.  Americans age 55 and older represent this world — they spend 63% — nearly two-thirds — of their total audio time with radio.

What about our Christmas present? Those age 35-54 spend 47% of their time with radio.  Today’s 35-54-year-olds are the transitional group — using some of the newer ways to listen to audio — but also giving nearly half their audio usage to AM/FM Radio.

And now let’s look to our ghosts of Christmas future, young listeners age 13-34, Let’s guess.  What portion of their audio consumption goes to radio? 27% Despite the myriad ways teens can listen to audio, 27% of their time is spent with Radio.

You can see the very healthy time spent listening from adults and older adults. But you can see the decline when it comes to younger Americans. Edison VP Megan Lazovick will be presenting Thursday at the Radio Show specifically on TSL, and she is going to address this issue, so you won’t want to miss that. Regardless of radio’s amazing programming, music discovery and other benefits, we can’t ignore the role that DEVICE plays in this listening statistic for young people.

Which brings us to Finding Number 7: 26% of all audio listening is done on a smartphone. Another finding from Edison’s Share of Ear study.

In the last five years, that percentage has increased from 18% to 26%. That is just in the last five years.

But think about the devices we now have available to listen to audio. A radio receiver delivers only radio programming. And when was the last time you saw a plain, traditional radio receiver? The last hotel I stayed in had a clock radio that wasn’t even a radio, it was a clock with a USB port. A mobile device, though, can deliver radio, streaming services, owned music, audiobooks. Not to mention that the mobile device is almost always within arms’ reach. I know I am nostalgically connected to my radios. I have a 1959 Motorola transistor, my grandma’s Sears Silvertone, a 1942 Philco. My Panasonic I got for my birthday when I was eight. There’s no nostalgia about an iPhone. If I lose it, I just buy another one and restore the backup. But we have to get over our connection to radios as devices.

We have to recognize the separation of the radio audio product from the delivery mechanism of frequency modulation.

Let’s talk about how we divorce the media, the content, from the device. Last year, if you were here for Megan Lazovick’s presentation, she showed us an imaginary movie trailer that envisioned a world without traditional radio receivers. If this was a prediction last year, this year  I bring you a snippet of what you could consider a documentary about some of those predictions coming true. The following video is from in-home interviews that we did for Country Radio Seminar with Parents who listen to Country Music and their teens. In this clip, our interviewer just asked what AM/FM Radio is. Pay attention to the reactions of the parents.

I relate. Clearly they aren’t “old” but they ARE surprised because their teens have very different audio habits in the car from what they imagined. When the teen son challenges his dad on the technology, the dad quickly replies that he knows how to use the tech, but he chooses radio. We have to ask ourselves if younger demographics understand what radio has to offer beyond being a perceived music delivery service (filled with commercials) so that they would choose a radio product. Also, the teen son was way off about “no high schooler in America” listening to radio, as we saw from the previous point. Casey Kasem (also someone who loved counting down lists) can rest in peace for now.

When we presented these findings at Country Radio Seminar, during the Q&A, a young woman stood up and she said, “I am a 22-year-old student. How would I learn about radio? I never see it advertised anywhere.” Future radio listeners, as with any audio service, streaming, podcasts, etc., need to be educated about the benefits if they are expected to choose your service.

So we know that teens stream. How might the habit spread?

Number 6: Parents with teens in the household are being influenced to stream audio, while parents influence the audio choices of their teens.  Or, “They teach us to stream and we teach them to love Garth Brooks.” This is another finding from the Country Radio Seminar study.

Thirty-two percent of adults age 25-54 stream audio daily, while 39% of PARENTS stream audio. So parents age 25-54 are more likely to stream audio.

We intuitively know that teens are assisting their parents with new technology. In fact, almost 70% of parents agreed that their teens assist them with new technology.

As far as sharing music, Teens are more likely than parents to share music with friends and family and they are most likely to share music suggestions via text, followed by social media and then streaming apps. Those music suggestions help drive the habit of streaming.  I know when my teenage sons send me the latest AJR song for example, I click on the link to hear the song, I don’t turn on the radio. We can’t underestimate how that information flow is going from child to parent.

There is a reciprocal influence, but it comes in the form of music.  Sixty percent of teenagers agree that their parents got them to listen to more country music, while only 23% of parents agreed that their teens had the same influence. So the music education falls on the parents. Someone has to be there to explain to the next generation that Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You was a remake.

Speaking of parents, we have a group at Edison called The Research Moms, which is pretty self-explanatory. A group of researchers, all of us moms, doing research about a very influential group of listeners and consumers…also moms.

Which is where we get finding Number 5: The younger you are, the more likely you are to have been unfriended on social media, and to feel criticized or attacked.

This is data from a study that just came out of the field; none of the data has been presented. We will be releasing the study in the fourth quarter, and the entire study is about Moms and social media.

We found that younger moms are more likely to have been unfriended or blocked on social media because they did not agree with someone’s personal opinion. We also found that younger moms are more likely to feel criticized or attacked on social media for a number of reasons, from their political views to what they feed their children.

Now whether they are actually being attacked or whether this is just how they are reacting to social media content, we don’t know, but as broadcasters, podcasters, and creators of audio content, it’s important to understand how social media is evolving because surely social media is one of the ways you connect with listeners.

Which brings us to finding Number 4: Facebook usage is declining.

Number 4 on our list is from The Social Habit, a study we did using results from an online sample, combined with qualitative interviews conducted with young adults who are using Facebook less.

In the past two years we have seen a downward trend in the percentage of Americans 12+ using Facebook, from 67% to 61%. The story is told when you look in specific demos. We found through The Infinite Dial 2019 that overall, 15 million fewer people were using Facebook than in 2017. And really the losses are in the younger demos as Facebook has 17 million fewer users age 12-34. Facebook picked up 2 million users among those 55 and older.

This graph shows the trend of social media platform used most often among ALL American social media users,, and you can see the growth of Instagram and Snapchat in the past four years, at the expense of Facebook.

In the qualitative interviews our younger, former Facebook users, or those who use Facebook less, told us that they find the environment on Facebook to be toxic, including the way that the platform allows users to go on long rants about political and other topics. They know that some of their older family members are on the platform, so they try to avoid it. (advance) They also told us they are gravitating to photo-based platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, platforms without extended commentary, which you see in this graph. American social media users age 12-34 are split almost evenly between the Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat as the platform use most often.

For the audio community, if your listeners are under 55, they are losing interest in the long-form content that Facebook serves. And photo-driven content, at least for the moment, has tremendous appeal.

Facebook didn’t exist in the mainstream fifteen years ago, and neither did smart speakers, or the mainstream ability to access voice assistants.

Finding number 3 comes from The Smart Audio Report, a study we do with our very supportive partners at NPR, which is centered on the use of voice technology by Americans.

Finding Number Three: The number of skills decreases the longer you own a smartspeaker, but loyalty grows over time. One of the most unexpected findings from 2019 is that the number of ways you use a smart speaker decreases the longer you own the device. The Smart Audio Report showed us that the newest smart speaker owners, those who have owned the device for three months or less, report using the most skills in the past week: almost twelve. Those who have owned the device for two years or more only use an average of seven skills in the past week.  We are finding that smart speaker owners are honing their skills instead of adding to the number of skills.

AND the number of skills does not correlate directly to loyalty. Those who have had the device the longest are the most likely to say they would not want to go back to life without it. 30% of those who have owned a smart speaker for 2 years or more say they would not want to go back to life before it. We know they are the group using the fewest skills, but they have the most loyalty. Only 11% of newest smart speaker owners say they wouldn’t want to go back to life before their smart speaker.

 

 

We talked with some smart speaker owners in their homes as part of The Smart Audio Report about how they use the devices. Please meet Sean, a smart speaker owner who is also a pragmatist.

Notice how Sean says he has learned how not to use it. It is not the range of skills that builds loyalty. It’s how much you need and use the skills most important to you, and how ingrained the device is in your life.

Voice technology has already made its way to our cars through Siri and Apple CarPlay. Now Amazon is shipping Echo Autos as well, so recently I received my “invitation to buy” so I made the purchase, and when I received the device you can see that a small card was included with suggestions of “things to try.” Included on the two-sided card were suggestions for listening to news, podcasts, SiriusXM, Audible. No mention of the ability to play your favorite radio stations. Now we know that terrestrial radio is making an effort to direct listeners so they can find their stations on their favorite voice assistant — we hear it, stations directing their listeners to “Ask Alexa”, so an effort has to be maintained as we see voice technology encroaching in the car, which has traditionally been a radio-dominated space.

Through The Infinite Dial 2019, we also saw that (and this is a finding previously unreleased) that those who already own a smart speaker are much more likely to be interested in voice technology in-car than the general population. 48% of smart speaker owners said they would be interested in voice tech in their cars.

 

Finding #2 is on a topic I am sure you have been waiting for. Podcasting. It’s so big that we have divided it into two parts.

Number 2a: Podcasting passes the 50% reach mark. You know this isn’t a list of top Edison findings without podcasting. This finding is from The Podcast Consumer. Some of you might have thought it would take all 10 places on our list. Everyone’s either got a podcast or trying to convince you to listen to their favorite one.

At Edison, we even have a podcast club, like a book club, where we listen to a different series each month and then meet to discuss. Over half of Americans 12+ have now ever listened to a podcast. Approximately 144 million people, which means it has entered the mainstream.

For radio, are you repackaging previously aired content as catch-up radio, are your personalities creating show-based episodes, or are you crafting original, custom podcasts? As you develop a podcast strategy, think about what listeners even consider a podcast to BE. Which is the second part of finding 2.

Number 2b: Podcast listeners are encountering podcasts in places you might not anticipate. (which challenges the very definition of a podcast). Just a few weeks ago at Podcast Movement in Orlando, Edison SVP Tom Webster presented findings from a study we did especially for the conference –the topic was differences between Rookie Podcast listeners, those who have been listening less than six months, and Veteran podcast listeners, those who have been listening six months or more. The biggest finding was that both rookies and veterans are encountering podcasts in unexpected places.

Almost 70% of rookie listeners said they listened to a podcast on YouTube and over half said they listened to a video of a podcast on social media.  I’m not sure we would have even used the phrase “listened to a video” a few months ago, but listeners are telling us how they consume podcasts, and part of that involves video. I was observing a qualitative interview with a podcast listener and he referred to “watching a sports radio podcast.” Watching. a sports Radio. Podcast. This consumption defies definition. Almost half of rookie listeners said they listened to audio clips of podcasts on social media as well. Veteran listeners were not as likely as rookies to consume podcasts through YouTube or through a video on social media. So this challenges our view of podcasting as purely an audio product and makes us realize that consumers of our audio products aren’t bound by definitions.

Finally, finding Number 1: Podcasting has worldwide impact.

 

Now that we have The Infinite Dial study in several countries, we are able to make comparisons – the inaugural studies in Germany and South Africa were just released in the past two weeks and you can see that although the U.S. and Canada have the highest percentage of the population that has ever listened to a podcast. A couple of the reasons we may see lower numbers in other countries besides the U.S. and Canada has to do with the amount of content available in certain languages – how much content is generated in a variety of languages for consumers besides English? Also, what are the limitations on inexpensive data plans in some of these areas, as well as good connectivity? We are excited to see how these numbers begin to trend around the world.

TAKEAWAYS: From the Top 10 Findings of 2019, certain threads emerged that tied these together into a complete audio story:

–The separation of radio as a product from radio as a device is becoming more apparent with each study and as online audio consumption and smart speaker usage continues to grow.

–Younger listeners today deserve our attention, having grown up with smartphones, and embracing technology so that we have to be one step ahead as we think about how to reach them.

–Social media can be a discouraging environment as younger users gravitate towards photo-based apps and away from text-driven platforms, and we must understand that environment if we want to connect with listeners there.

–A small but useful and important set of traits builds loyalty, as with our smart speaker owners.

–Consumers/listeners are showing us that they are in the driver’s seat as they defy definitions in the way they consume audio products and we must adapt accordingly.

Stay tuned in 2019, as we will be publishing significant fourth-quarter findings as we find them.

Click here to view The Top Ten Findings of 2019 (so far)

The Infinite Dial® Germany to Debut in 2019

Germany joins the US, Canada, Australia, and South Africa with Digital Media Research from U.S.-Based Edison Research

Somerville, NJ – July 8, 2019   The Infinite Dial®, the leading study on digital audio, mobile, smart speakers, podcast consumption, and social media from Edison Research, has just been commissioned by Berlin-based RTL Radio Deutschland for implementation in Germany.

The Infinite Dial is the longest-running survey of media consumer behavior in the U.S., tracking consumer usage of digital media over time. Germany will join the U.S.,  Australia,  Canada, and most recently, South Africa, as media communities who use The Infinite Dial® to measure consumer behaviors.

RTL Radio Deutschland is the leading German radio group. With its stations and brands, the company serves all relevant platforms. RTL Radio Deutschland recently started AUDIO NOW, a podcasting platform for Germany showing a great range of popular podcasts in German and English language, including exclusive podcasts and audio series.

The results from the first in The Infinite Dial® Germany will be revealed on September 3 in Berlin, and will be published simultaneously online on www.audionow.de and Edison Research websites.

“In addition to our content expertise and innovative offerings, we are pleased to be able to provide a reliable data source for the use of digital audio in Germany in the future. In Edison Research we have found the perfect partner for this. We are very much looking forward to the results, which will certainly be giving us exclusive insights into this future relevant area of media consumer behavior,” said Stephan Schmitter, CEO of RTL Radio Deutschland.

The Infinite Dial study has become the report card on digital audio and other digital media, and is widely used and quoted by broadcasters, internet radio publishers, ad agencies, and the financial community.

“Germany’s addition of The Infinite Dial study comes at the perfect time. As digital audio is experiencing such explosive growth, it is crucial to have quality, consistent measurement of the space. We are thrilled to add Germany to the list of countries employing the Infinite Dial,” said Larry Rosin, President of Edison Research.

 

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, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space.  Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.

 

About RTL Radio Deutschland

RTL Radio Deutschland is the leading private radio group in Germany. Its 17 stations in 11 states reach millions of listeners daily. It derives its success from its profound experience in programming and content development. Leading stations like 104.6 RTL, Radio Hamburg and ANTENNE BAYERN profit from this know-how. RTL Radio Deutschland operates as a strategic partner following the slogan “Together we are stronger”.

NPR Smart Audio Report logo

Save the Date: The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

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

Join us on Tuesday, June 25 at 2pm ET as we reveal the latest findings from The Smart Audio Report Spring 2019, a study on smart speaker ownership and consumer behaviors in the U.S. from NPR and Edison Research.

There are now approximately 65 million smart speaker owners in the United States, and we have been tracking trends in the voice-activated speaker space since 2017 through The Smart Audio Report. Learn how American smart speaker owners choose to use the devices, and how they integrate the voice-activated technology into their lives.

We hope you will join NPR and Edison Research June 25 for a first look at all of the Spring 2019 data.

The Social Habit 2019

Facebook Usage Continues to Drop; Preferences in Social Media Usage Vary Most by Age

There are now approximately 223 million social media users age 12+ in the U.S., and their original social media platform of choice, Facebook, is losing ground among users of all ages, for various reasons.

The Social Habit 2019 is a new study from Edison Research designed to dig deeper after a finding from The Infinite Dial®2019 (from Edison Research and Triton Digital® ) showed that Facebook has 15 million fewer users overall in the U.S. in 2019 than 2017.

The latest study shows that around one-third of Facebook users are using the platform less often than when they joined, regardless of age, but the reasons for using Facebook less vary widely with age. Those age 13-34 say they are using Facebook less because they enjoy other social media sites more, their friends don’t post much on Facebook, and because they are trying to avoid parents and relatives on the site. Those age 35+ say they are using Facebook less because they don’t like rants and have privacy concerns.

“Not only have millions of Americans stopped using Facebook entirely, nearly a third of Facebook users tell us they are using the service less. While Facebook remains the leading social media brand in America, it is being wounded on multiple fronts, as every demographic has their own reasons for spending less time there,” said Tom Webster, Senior Vice President at Edison Research.

Other findings include:

  • The “core users” of the different social media brands, (those who use that one ‘most often’) have different demographic profiles.  Those who use LinkedIn and Twitter most are more likely to be male. Pinterest and Facebook users are more likely to be female. Snapchat is evenly split.
  • WhatsApp differentiates itself from other social media brands in the U.S. by having the most ethnically diverse user base. Thirty-eight percent of WhatsApp users are Hispanic, 28% are white, 27% are other ethnicity, and 7% are African American.
  • Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter have the highest composition of U.S. users age 12-34. Facebook and Pinterest have the highest composition of U.S. users age 55+. LinkedIn claims the highest percentage of those age 35-54

In qualitative interviews, Edison Research spoke with social media users age 18-29 who report using Facebook less recently or have stopped altogether. Those users describe some of the reasons they are using Facebook less, including avoiding family members on Facebook, experiencing discomfort with some of the “attention-seeking” they see on social media, and gravitating to other, more photo-heavy platforms. Paradoxically, though, the same users articulate FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, as they scan social media platforms, and feel compelled to participate in social media.

View The Social Habit 2019 webinar here:

Flip through The Social Habit 2019 deck here:

 

How the Study was Conducted:
The Social Habit is an in-depth look at social media users in the U.S. which uses data from the following three studies:

National Telephone Survey from The Infinite Dial®2019 from Edison Research and Triton Digital®. In January/February 2019, Edison Research conducted a national telephone survey of 1,500 people aged 12 and older, using random digit dialing techniques to both cell phones and landlines (U.S. Population 12+). Telephone data weighted to national 12+ U.S. population figures

National Online Survey from The Social Habit Survey from Edison Research. In May 2019, Edison Research conducted a national online survey of 850 people aged 13 and older. Data has been weighted to match The Infinite Dial®

In-person in-depth interviews, from The Social Habit Interviews from Edison Research. In April 2019, Edison Research interviewed twelve social media users age 18-29 who report using Facebook less recently or have stopped altogether

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, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space.  Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.