What happened when U.S Latino non-listeners tried podcasts

By Director of Research Gabe Soto

Today there are 116 million people older than 12 in the U.S. who listen to podcasts every month, or 41% of the total population. In the Infinite Dial Report by Edison Research and Triton Digital, that number increased rapidly by 12 million since 2020 and some of the biggest drivers behind that growth were Latinos.

Monthly podcast listenership among U.S. Latinos grew from 25% in 2020 to 36% in a matter of twelve months. This increase, of 44%, makes Latinos the fastest adopters of podcasts during the pandemic out any major racial/ethnic group. Yet, the majority of Latinos (64%), like the general population (59%), do not listen to podcasts.

This non-listening group was the central focus of our Latino Podcast (non) Listener Report that Edison Research published in September. We were curious to see what they thought about podcasts, so we asked them, on video. It was all an effort to understand what might usher in the next wave of podcast audience.

To begin, we put a group of Latinos who don’t listen to podcasts to the test by asking them if they could describe one to the best of their ability.

Then we played a podcast for them and asked them to share their thoughts.

Finally, we asked how they listen or watch other content in English vs. Spanish to understand how they might listen to podcasts.

The three videos revealed assumptions that podcast non-listeners make frequently, and how those assumptions are challenged after listening to one. The videos also illustrated the joy many Latinos have when listening to podcast content that is relevant to them, and how this has been and will continue to be a factor in current and future podcast adoption rates as the industry continues to amplify podcasts for diverse audiences.

To find out more about this study, you can check out the Latino Podcast Listener Report here. The report is available completely for free thanks to Adonde MediaLWC Studios, LibsynPRXSimplecastSonoro, and SXM Media.

The Latino Podcast (non) Listener Report 2021

Click here for The U.S. Latino Podcast (non) Listener Report 2021 in English

Click here for The U.S. Latino Podcast (non) Listener Report 2021 in Spanish

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U.S. Latinos are Primed for Podcasts
67% of U.S. Latino podcast non-listeners already listen to spoken word audio  

Forty-four percent of U.S. Latinos have never listened to a podcast and 20% have not listened to a podcast in the last month, but a new study finds that 67% of U.S. Latinos who don’t listen to podcasts already listen to spoken word audio.

The U.S. Latino Podcast Listener Report 2021, released in July 2021 by Edison Research, focused on the 36% of Latinos who are monthly podcast listeners. Today a follow-up report was released, The 2021 U.S Latino Podcast (non) Listener Report, examining the 64% of U.S. Latinos age 18+ who are not monthly podcast listeners. 

The U.S Latino Podcast (non) Listener Report 2021 was commissioned by  Adonde MediaLWC Studios, LibsynPRXSimplecastSonoroSXM Media, and was conducted by Edison Research. The study is the only comprehensive research on Latino podcast listeners in the United States.

The reason most U.S. Latinos are not listening to podcasts? Seventy percent of those who aren’t monthly podcast listeners say that podcasts ‘just aren’t for them.’” The next most popular reasons: 48% say they don’t have enough time to listen and 47% say that podcasts are too long.

Some reasons U.S. Latinos might listen to podcasts? Forty-three percent of monthly podcast non-listeners say they would be interested if there were podcasts available on the topics they are interested in, 33% said they would be interested if podcasts were easier to discover, and 28% said they would be interested if a well-known personality they liked hosted a podcast.

Further education around podcast access and subscription is needed: 23% of U.S. Latino podcast non-listeners say they don’t really understand what a podcast is, 29% say they are not so sure how to listen to a podcast, and 31% say they don’t really know how to find a podcast. Thirty-one percent say they have to pay to subscribe to a podcast. 

U.S. Latinos who don’t listen to podcasts are more likely to be women, and more likely to be age 55+. U.S. Latino monthly podcast listeners are 58% Men, 42% Women v. 44% Men, 56% Women for non-listeners, and monthly podcast listeners are 8% age 55+ v. 30% age 55+ for non-listeners. 

This new research shows 58% of U.S. Latino podcast non-listeners use YouTube weekly for music listening, and according to The U.S Latino Podcast Listener Report released in July, YouTube is the top platform for podcast listening among monthly podcast listeners. This means video, particularly YouTube, will be an important point of entry for U.S. Latinos to podcasting. 

Findings from the study debuted in a webinar on September 16, presented by Gabriel Soto, Director of Research at Edison Research, and Elsie Escobar, She Podcasts Co-founder and Community Manager at Libsyn. 

“Since many Latino podcast non-listeners already listen to spoken word audio, and so many use YouTube and streaming audio platforms for other content, they are poised for adoption of the platform,” said Soto. “Today we saw that Latino non-listeners expressed joy in listening to podcasts for the first time, and that’s another reason Latinos have adopted the platform at such a high rate.” 

According to Escobar, “Bilingual or multi-lingual content is and will become more and more important to grow Latino non-podcast listeners. Bilingual podcasts are an opportunity to re-connect and re-build our identities as we are, plus create bridges for all of our Latino and Hispanic experiences within the U.S. and beyond. 

View a replay of the webinar below:

For more information on the partners in this study, please visit, Adonde MediaLWC Studios, LibsynPRXSimplecastSonoro, and SXM Media. 

How This Study Was Conducted
Online interviews were conducted with 2,500+ U.S. Hispanic/Latino adults age 18+ in May 2021. The data was weighted to the age/sex/country of origin of U.S. Hispanic/Latino population and The Infinite Dial 2021 podcast listening statistics. The survey was offered in English and Spanish, and 17% of total respondents took the survey in 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, 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 Research 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. 

Streaming Now Accounts for 12% of AM/FM Radio Listening in the U.S.

Edison Research’s Share of Ear® shows highest proportion ever of AM/FM Listening to streaming v. over-the-air

 The most recent Share of Ear® study from Edison Research finds that 12% of all AM/FM radio listening is via streaming, while 88% of listening is done to a traditional, over-the-air radio signal.

AM/FM radio content in the U.S. is now available through a variety of digital apps and devices, making radio listening possible on computers, smartphones, smart speakers, and through radio station websites, apps, and third party apps. Although streaming AM/FM content continues to see small amounts of incremental growth each year, and at 12% is the highest measure yet, the largest amount of listening goes to the over-the-air (OTA) signals from devices such as car radios and clock radios.

“There are many outlets for Americans to listen to free broadcast radio, including the smartphones that we know are ubiquitous in our population. To realize growth, radio has to capitalize on its content being available beyond just a traditional radio receiver,” said Laura Ivey, Director of Research at Edison Research. “We know that the pandemic has shifted U.S. listeners from their cars, where traditional radio is easily available, to their homes, where radio must be accessed on different devices. The challenge is how to convince listeners to follow radio content on different devices – radio not on ‘a radio.’ ”

Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study is the only research that measures the entire world of audio, looking at platform of listening, time of day, device on which the audio was consumed, the kind of programming, and the location of listening. The Share of Ear service measures what portion of listening to AM/FM content happens on a traditional radio receiver and how much is done on a digital device. The Share of Ear methodology fully represents the U.S. 13+ population, including not only those who are online but also those who are either not online or lightly online.

Click here for more information on subscribing to the Share of Ear service.

The Number of Americans Paying for Audio Subscriptions Has Doubled Since 2015

Edison Research recently published a fascinating tidbit from our Share of Ear® series: The portion of the American population that is paying for an audio subscription of some kind has doubled since 2015, and is now almost half of everyone (47%).

There is a lot that is contributing to this growth.  First, it’s important to emphasize this is not a measure of subscriptions, it is a measure of people. If two people share a log-in or an account, that’s one subscription but two people who would say “yes” to subscribing.

The biggest factor is almost assuredly the transfer of monies that once went to purchasing physical music product (think CDs) that now goes to paid music subscriptions to Spotify, Apple Music and others.

Nearly as crucial to the rise is the ever-growing factor of SiriusXM.  By far the largest single subscription audio product in the U.S., every year it just keeps adding to its base as new cars roll off the lot.

Even smaller niche products like Audible add to the picture, and the coming wave of podcast subscription products may tempt even more people to start paying for an audio product.  The number will almost surely pass 50% of Americans paying something for audio in the next year or two.

Here are some things one might want to ponder:

It’s not that many years ago that this number would have been essentially zero.  Satellite Radio really pioneered the space, and it didn’t exist in the 20th Century.

Audio joins the long list of products that once were ‘free’ (at least for the cost of a transistor radio or the car that surrounded it, or for the internet connection one was already paying for), which people now choose to pay for.  Just like bottled water.  And of course first cable and satellite television and then streaming video.

Even when competing with “free”, as always these products come down to value.  If you really wanted your MTV, you paid for cable.  If you really want on-demand music or products without commercials or just more choice or convenience, these subscriptions are really not so expensive as to inhibit purchase for a lot of people.  And it’s likely that the incredible growth of Netflix and other video products have trained consumers to pay a few bucks a month for things they like.

One of broadcast radio’s primary sales arguments has long been that it is free.  And while this remains true, it is clearly a diminishing selling point.  The at-times extreme level of commercial content that many American radio stations run has probably helped change the value proposition around commercial-free products.

Bauer Media, one of the main broadcast radio companies in the U.K., is now offering a subscription service of their own.  For a small monthly fee, a consumer can now stream all the Bauer stations with no commercials plus access other exclusive content.  This seems an ingenious strategy that American commercial radio companies should at least be considering.

One of the biggest mistakes in business (a mistake I have made myself) is assuming that under no circumstances will people pay for something they already get for free. In a rather short period of time, almost 90% of American households went from only getting television from “rabbit ears” to signing up for cable or satellite, because the value was there.

Think about the audio space.  Between illegal downloads of digital music and broadcast radio, there has long been tons of ‘free’ content available.  And yet, people pay.  Endless billions of dollars — as long as they continue to provide value.

Clubhouse Users in America

Fifteen Percent of Social Media Users 18+ Have Ever Used Clubhouse; Demographics Revealed
Edison Research presents first demographic research on users of social audio service 

According to a new study from Edison Research entitled “Clubhouse Users in America,” 15% of social media users 18+ say they have ever used Clubhouse, the invitation-only audio-based social networking platform that debuted last year. Data for this first look at Clubhouse users is from Edison Research’s weekly social media tracking service, The Social Habit, which provides ongoing behavior and usage data for all major social media platforms.

Click here to download Clubhouse Users in America

Scroll down to view a replay of the webinar

Although Clubhouse has a relatively small number of users compared to other social media networking services, it has garnered significant attention due to its premise of shared audio spaces and the exclusive nature of its invitation-only membership. Clubhouse Users in America found that the percentage of social media users who use Clubhouse remained relatively flat over the survey period (Feb 2021 – Apr 2021) and that time spent using the service declined in April. However, those that do use the service use it often, with 44% of Clubhouse users saying they use the service at least once per day, and 28% saying they use it at least once per week.

Demographics of Clubhouse users:

  • 66% of Clubhouse users are male
  • 56% of Clubhouse users are age 18-34, 42% are age 35-54, 2% are age 55+
  • 59% are White, 19% Hispanic/Latino, 17% Black

The study also found that current Clubhouse users index very highly for household income and education, and are far more likely to identify as Liberal than the general population.

“Clubhouse has been an iPhone-only service up until now,” noted Edison Research SVP Tom Webster, “and as a result, the audience for the service is not as diverse as we see in the leading social platforms.”

Click here for more information on The Social Habit.

How the study was conducted
Clubhouse Users in America data was derived from The Social Habit, a weekly online tracking study of social media users in America ages 18+. The total sample comprised 4557 social media users. Interviews were conducted between February 15th and April 26th.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of commercial clients, governments, and NGOs, including AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, BBC, The Brookings Institution, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, Voice of America, The New York Times, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Spotify, SiriusXM Radio, and UnidosUS. Edison Research is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, PodcastOne, Slate, Spotify, Stitcher/Midroll, ESPN, WNYC Studios, Wondery, and many more companies in the space. Another specialty for Edison Research is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison Research 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, consisting of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News, conducting exit polls and collecting real-time vote results in all 50 states.