Podcasting’s Share of Listening in the U.S. Hits All-Time High

For the first time since Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study began tracking audio consumption in 2014, podcasting’s share of all audio listening is now 6% of consumption. This level marks an all-time high for the rapidly-growing on-demand audio medium.

 


This new finding was revealed at the Podcast Movement Virtual conference today in a keynote address by Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. The latest findings show that the share of time Americans age 13+ spend with podcasts as a percentage of all their audio listening has tripled from just 2% in 2014.

According to Webster, “Podcasting has become the greatest companion medium. Not only can you take it with you while you do other things, but we also see people turning to podcasts for a sense of community and connection during a very stressful time.”

Please click here for more information on Edison Research’s Share of Ear® 
 
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.  

 

 

In-Car Listening Shows Americans Increasingly On the Move 

Latest Share of Ear Study released by Edison Research

 

Edison Research today released the latest update of the Share of Ear® report to clients, based on interviews conducted during October, 2020. The listening location data from Share of Ear sheds some light on which locations U.S. listeners are consuming audio now that quarantine restrictions are being lifted in some areas. 

Listening shifts from home back to the car as quarantine restrictions lift in Q3 
Prior to COVID-19 restrictions in Q2 2020, 32% of all audio in in the U.S. was consumed in car. When quarantine restrictions went into place in Q2, erasing many Americans’ commutes and greatly reducing travel in general, in-car listening plummeted by 37% so that it accounted for only 20% of all listening. This caused at-home listening in Q2 to soar from 49% of all listening to 70% of all listening, an increase of 43%.

 

The latest research from Share of Ear, conducted in early September, shows a shift back to the car as quarantine restrictions have been lifted by varying degrees across the country. In-car listening grew from 20% in Q2 to 28% today, not quite equal to the pre-COVID number of 32% of all listening.  

An increase of Q3 audio consumption in car means a decrease at home, where we see at-home listening levels fall from 70% in Q2 (the beginning of quarantine) to 59% of all listening today.

 

At-home listening levels still higher than before quarantine 
At-home listening, although at lower levels since Q2, is still 10 points higher than pre-COVID listening. With a U.S. workforce that has seen many employees transition to home office environments, future surveys will bear out whether or not this is a permanent shift. 
 
At-work listening sees gains 
When quarantine restrictions began in Q2, at-work listening fell by almost half from 15% of all listening to 8%. The latest research in Q3 shows that at-work listening has slightly rebounded, growing from 8% to 10% of all audio consumption, an increase of 25%. 
  

 

Radio’s Roadmap To Gen Z Listenership

Gen Z Listeners in the U.S. are Heavy Users of Streaming, but 55% listen to AM/FM Radio Every Day

 Audio consumers in “Gen Z — those between the ages of 13 and 24 —  prefer listening  on their smartphones, which should be no surprise because they have grown up with the devices, but AM/FM radio’s reach among Gen Z is high (55%)according to Share of Ear® information from Edison Research. 

Megan Vartan, Director of Research at Edison Research and Jayne Charneski, founder of Front Row Insights & Strategy, presented the Radio’s Roadmap to Gen Z Listenership webinar today — a version of this study was presented at the NAB Show Express earlier this year.  

Click here to download Radio’s Roadmap to Gen Z Listening July 2020

Who are those in Generation Z? Gen Z is the most racially diverse generation in the U.S. to date, with 48% identifying as a racial or ethnic minority. They are the first generation of true digital natives; they are increasingly being referred to as “Zoomers,” a nod to the pace at which technology and culture have changed in their lifetimes, and now to the presence of Zoom in their lives. Having grown up in the age of the 24-hour-news cycle and endless information on the internet, they regularly consume news and information.  

Share of Ear® measures audio consumption of those aged 13+ in the U.S., so those aged 13-24 were used to represent Gen Z in this study. 

Over half (55%) of 13-24 year-olds in the U.S. are reached by AM/FM radio dailyjust surpassing the reach of streaming (53%). 

“Perhaps fact that Gen Z listens to any  AM/FM radio surprises you,” said VartanMany people believe that no young people ever listen to the radio any more. This is simply not true.  Especially when they are in their cars, but even in other places – young people do listen to the radio. 

Gen Z listeners spend 50% less of their total share of time listening to AM/FM radio than the average 13+ population, so even though 55% of Gen Zers are reached by radio daily, they spend less time with radio when they tune in. 

Gen Z listens to AM/FM Radio most when they are in the car. Almost 50% of the time spent listening to audio in the car among13-24 year-olds is to AM/FM radio, surpassing streaming audio, YouTube, and others.

Gen Z listeners are much more likely to listen to audio on a smartphone than a traditional device. Gen Z uses a radio receiver 50% less than the average 13+ population, and they use their phones for listening 75% more than the average 13+ population.

Gen Z listeners spend 58% more of their total share of time listening to streaming audio than the average 13+ population. Their share of YouTube listeningwhich is surveyed only for music and music videos, is 98% higher than the average 13+ population.

Despite Gen Z’s love for streaming and for their smartphones, 89% of their listening to AM/FM radio is done through a traditional radio receiver. Eleven percent of Gen Z’s AM/FM radio listening is going to the streams.  Even among this young, digital-first demographic, they are simply not listening in big numbers to radio streams.

“Stations need to remind these digital natives that FM radio is available digitally” said Charneski.  “This is the generation that was swiping before they were wiping…and yet, somehow they’re not thinking of FM radio as that’s available on their phones and mobile devices.”

Qualitative interviews with Gen Z radio listeners found some of the reasons they enjoy radio:
 radio provides a human connection, particularly during quarantine
radio offers the surprise of songs that have not been curated in streaming playlists
radio is a source for additional information about music and artists
–radio is a source for news and information
–radio is associated with nostalgia and good memories

How the study was conducted: Share of Ear is based on a national sample of 4,000 individuals in the U.S. age 13+, updated Q1 2020. This study does not include Share of Ear data collected during COVID-19 restrictions. The survey was offered offline and online, and offered in English and Spanish. Qualitative interviews were conducted by Front Row Insights & Strategy.
 

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 Front Row Insights & Strategy
Front Row translates consumer attitudes and behaviors into winning insights and strategies for brands and marketers.   Front Row uses qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, generational filters, and cultural trends to discover opportunities for brands and conducts research projects for wide range clients in entertainment and media, including Universal Music Group, Viacom, CAA, Focus Features, HarperCollins, MasterClass, and Spectrum.  Front Row was founded by Jayne Charneski, a leading consumer and audience insight expert and speaker on Gen Zs and generational traits

Digital Device Listening Crosses the 50% Threshold During COVID-19 Disruptions

For the first time since Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study began tracking the growth of audio consumption in 2014, the total daily share of time spent listening on digital devices by those age 13+ in the U.S. has surpassed the share of time spent listening on traditional, more linear devices.

Before the COVID-19 disruptions, 55% of the daily total share of time spent listening by those in the U.S. age 13 and older was done on traditional, more linear devices, and 45% was done on digital devices. During Q2 2020, 53% of the daily total share of time spent listening was on digital devices. 

The “digital/on-demand” devices in the Share of Ear study include smartphones, computers, internet-connected televisions and smart speakers. These are essentially the devices that Americans use to stream or listen to audio files on demand. The “traditional or non-linear devices” include AM/FM receivers, SiriusXM receivers, CD players, turntables, or TV channels like Music Choice. 

This is the first time that the digital group surpassed the more traditional forms of listeningas the digital group saw a substantial eight percentage point jump during the COVID-19 disruptions.  Before this unique time, the digital total was slowlgetting closer and closer to parity with the non-digital devices. The shift away from in-car and at-workplace listening to at-home listening led to these enormous changes. 

Digital surpassing non-digital was almost inevitable, according to the slow trend we saw in Share of Ear. It appears that these disruptions may have just accelerated the process. We will have to wait to see if the numbers revert more closely to what they were before the disruptions,” said Director of Research Laura Ivey. 

Share of Ear® report to clients, based on interviews conducted during the middle of May, 2020. 

While most of the findings are exclusive to Share of Ear subscribers, Edison Research is releasing several interesting data points for the audio industry to consider since the data provides insight into U.S. listener behavior during COVID-19 restrictions.
 

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. 

 

 

U.S. Listeners’ Audio Day Starting Later During COVID-19 Disruptions

Half of those age 13+ now begin their audio day at 8:30am; before COVID was 7:15am 

  

New data from the Edison Research Share of Ear®  study, conducted during the period of COVID-19 disruptions, shows that people in the U.S. age 13 and older began listening to audio a full 75 minutes later on average, as compared to before the disruptions.   
 
The Share of Ear study, which requires respondents to keep a detailed daily diary of audio usage, shows that pre-COVID-19, the point in the day when 50% of those in the U.S. age 13+ recorded their first entry of their audio day was around 7:15am. During Q2 fielding of Share of Ear, it was not until 8:30am that half of respondents had recorded any audio usage. 

 “This finding challenges our thinking about how those in the U.S. listen to audio during traditional drive times,” said Edison Research Director Laura Ivey.  “With many people staying at home or working from home during Q2, they did not engage with audio as early as they did pre-COVID. This data shows that if Americans continue current work patterns, audio strategies may need to be adjusted.”

Share of Ear Q2 findings are based on interviews conducted mid-May, 2020.

While most of the findings are exclusive to Share of Ear subscribers, Edison Research is releasing several interesting data points for the audio industry to consider since the data provides insight into U.S. listener behavior during COVID-19 restrictions. 

Click here for more information on Share of Ear.