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.

 

YouTube “Listening” Decreases in 2020

Americans are spending less of their total listening time with YouTube in 2020, and YouTube as an audio-only source is reaching fewer Americans in 2020, according to two updated datasets from Edison Research. 

Known as the birthplace of the eponymous YouTube star as well as many a viral challenge, YouTube also functionally serves as a music delivery source.  The latest Share of Ear® data from Edison Research shows that Americans now spend 9% of their time spent listening to audio sources with YouTube, down from 11% in 2018. The decrease is driven primarily from younger demos, as those in the U.S. age 13-34 now spend 16% of their total audio time with YouTube, down from 20% in 2019. 

Not only is time spent listening to YouTube as an audio source lower year over year, but YouTube as a source for music or music videos is reaching fewer Americans according to The Infinite Dial® from Edison Research and Triton Digital. 2019 was a bit of a milestone for the YouTube measure, as 50% of those in the U.S. age 12+ had listened to music on YouTube in the last week. In 2020, 44% of the total U.S. population reported having used YouTube for music in the last week. 

This decrease in reach is also driven by younger demos, as was the case with time spent listening, as the number of 12-34-year-olds using YouTube for music in the last week fell 14% year over year, to 60% from 70%. Usage by 35-54-year-olds was down slightly to 53% from 56% year over year. 

As both Share of Ear and Infinite Dial have catalogued enormous gains for YouTube for music listening over the last decade, it is of note that we see some diminishment for the first time corroborated in both surveys.  (Note: data points from both surveys were captured prior to the onset of widespread COVID-19-related disruptions.)

For the latest on how Americans are discovering new music, join Edison Research VP Nicole Beniamini for New-Music Seekers: An Infinite Dial® Report, presented as a free webinar on Thursday, July 16th, at 1 PM EDT. Register for New-Music Seekers here.

 

Three stats to know before the release of the Latino Podcast Listener Report

by Gabriel Soto, Manager of Research

When it comes to Latinos, there is no shortage of audio consumption among our communityAs we are about to see, the same is true for podcast listening. The irony, however, is in the shortage of resources available to the Latino podcasting market. This strong consumption — paired with a lack of research – merits formal look into the podcast listening terrains of the Latino listening world. This is exactly one reason why we have teamed up with leaders in the audio space to conduct a study that will provide insights into the podcast listeners and non-listeners of our often simplified, but truly complex, ethnic group. But before we visit those terrains on June 30th, 2020, here are three statistics that demonstrate where podcast listening even stands for Latinos. 

To analyze these three listening habits that will help us contextualize podcast listening among our community of 60 million people (U.S. Census 2018 ACS Estimate) we utilize Edison Research’s Share of Ear®, a quarterly updated study that comprehensively measures daily listening in the audio space. 

The following data compares two groups, the U.S. general population ages 13+ (which includes U.S Latinos ages 13+) and a subgroup derived from the first, composed of only U.S. Latinos 13+. The term U.S. Latino refers to anyone who identified as Hispanic or Latino in the Share of Ear study. Data reflects Q1 2020 before COVID-19 disruption if any. 

1. On average, U.S. Latinos spend more time with audio each day than the U.S. population 

How much time do Latinos spend listening to audio? How big is our audio world? On average, Latinos listen to an astounding 44 more minutes of audio per day than the general population. The latter spends an average of 3 hours and 53 minutes daily with the medium, while that number skyrockets to 4 hours and 34 minutes if we only look at listening time among Latinos. In this sense, the Latino hourglass is bigger. The figure reveals the mountain of Latino audio listening and its influence on the audio market. It also indicates that Latinos have more time for all forms of audio like music and spoken word (e.g., podcasts).  

 

 

2. Latinos allocate their audio time to music vs. spoken-word audio similarly to the general population 

On our way toward examining the podcast terrains of the U.S. Latino listener, we pass by a view of music vs. spoken word audioFor a section of the audio world that has lost some ground to spoken word since 2014, music still accounts for an overwhelming 77% share for the U.S. population, leaving the remaining 23% of the listening to spoken word audio, which includes media like talk radio, news podcasts, and audiobooks—to name a fewThis split is similar when we isolate those who identify as Hispanic or Latino: over four-fifths (81%) of audio listening time goes to music while just under one-fifth (19%) goes to spoken word audio. Now although a smaller proportion of Latino audio listening goes to spoken word audio, we have to remember that Latinos spend more time with audio to begin with, so the average time spent listening to spoken word daily manages to equal what the overall population spends with this form of audio. Only by climbing this area of the Latino audio mountain can we see a clearer picture of where podcast listening stands. 

 

 

3. On average, U.S. Latinos spend more time with podcasts each day than the U.S. population 

Taking only spoken word audio listening, in others words, removing music from the equation, the U.S. total population spends about 18% of that time with podcasts. When we flip to Latinos, the proportion of this time spent with podcasts is about 22% larger, with over one-fifth (22%) of spoken word audio listening dedicated to the booming platform. 

These numbers show that Latinos retain relatively robust listening to podcasts – and more broadly – to audio overall. It is about time to begin exploring and embracing it.

 

The paradox is that Latinos invest more of their time listening to podcasts than the general U.S. population, yet investment in the Latino podcast market is thin. Imagine the potential if the podcast industry were growing and if the Latino population were growing too – oh wait, that is happening. So, for those looking to be a part of it – click here to find out more information about the upcoming U.S. Latino Podcast Listening Report. 

Share of time spent listening to audio at home in the U.S. increases 44% during COVID-19 disruption

Somerville, N.J. (June 4, 2020) Edison Research today released the latest update of their 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 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. 

Listening moved to the home; share increased by 44%
Edison Research measures the location of all listening, and the table below shows the share of time spent with audio by location. Findings show that while total time spent listening was only slightly lower during the COVID-19 disruptions in the United States, there was a considerable shift in where that audio consumption happened.  While 48.5of all listening occurred at home before COVID-19 (and this finding has been very consistent since Share of Ear began in 2014), 70.0% of all listening was at-home in May.  All three other locations – car, work and ‘other’ — dropped. 

“It’s important to recognize that our survey asks where the respondent is when they are listening to audio – not what they are doing,” said Edison Research director Laura Ivey.  “The shift to ‘work-from-home’ for so many, especially office workers who tend to spend a lot of time with audio, is clearly reflected.” 

 

Podcasts and Smart Speakers Achieve New All-Time High Shares of Ear 

The enormous changes in daily life for so many Americans led to changes in what people are listening to and what device they are using to access their audio. 

Podcasting’s Share of Ear jumped significantly – up 26% from the Quarter 1 2020 report to this new update. During COVID-19 restrictions, 5.4% of all time spent with audio was with podcasts, up from 4.3% in Q1While podcasting share increases with every update, this represents an all-time high for podcast listening share of all audio. 

Smart Speakers also hit a new high, with its share leaping by more than 40% (albeit from a relatively low base). During COVID-19 restrictions, 5.3% of all time spent with audio was through a smart speaker, up from 3.7% in Q1. 

“The movement of so much listening to the home changed the shares of many platforms and devices,” said Ivey.  “It will be fascinating to see how these numbers continue to develop as American life evolves during and, eventually, after this pandemic period ends.” 

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