Podcasting Opportunities as Illustrated by T-Booty, Tini, and Mambo
If you attended Podcast Movement in Dallas recently, you might have heard Edison Research Senior Director of Research Gabriel Soto give a keynote address on uncovering the opportunities in podcasting. If you heard this keynote address then you were introduced to Gabe’s family and friends, including T-Booty, Tini, and Mambo. Below are excerpts from his presentation.
Now some of you know me, but many of you don’t – yet. So, allow me to introduce myself.
About me: My name is Gabriel Soto, and I am a senior director at Edison Research. Three favorite hobbies include: The outdoors – I love hiking and kayaking, I picked them up during the pandemic. Food – I love trying food from all over the world and number three – I love listening to you, I love listening to podcasts
I started in 2017, by that time 24% of the U.S. population was already listening to podcasts on a monthly basis. By 2021, at the height of the pandemic restrictions, that number soared to 41% percent. Incredible!
Now, this data is from our Infinite dial study sponsored by Wondery and Art19. It’s a survey of the American population older than 12 that we conduct every January, and our 2022 edition revealed disappointing news to those expecting to see this number rise again: a 3-point dip to 38%. The number of monthly podcast listeners this year, actually declined.
So, what happened? And how can we reverse course, so we can rise to new heights?
Edison Research has been in podcasting from the very beginning. These figures were one of the first of many that are publicly available; they helped the industry build itself into what it is today. And we’re back again not only so I can introduce myself, but to introduce you to OPPORTUNITIES, opportunities that can help podcasting grow.
Listening at home and in the car
So, do you remember the lockdown? Who remembers la cuarentena? In 2020 and 2021, when we were confined to our houses, many people were using their newfound free time not only to watch Netflix and other streaming, but to listen to podcasts as well. Much like Netflix consumption, podcast listening occurs most often at home.
In our Q2 2022 release of Edison Podcast Metrics, a national online survey of 8,000 weekly podcast listeners, 60% say they listen to podcasts most often at home, vs 19% who say the car. Think of listening while multitasking, doing house chores, while cooking, and getting ready for the day.
With podcasts being an at-home thing, it was destined — it was always, just like Netflix, going to stall as people left their houses post COVID-19 lockdowns. And that’s the opportunity.
T-Booty, get your booty in the car Opportunity
Let me introduce my best friend, Tim Butts. His last name is Butts, and we call him T-Booty.
Now, T-Booty and I have been friends since college, nine years now. We have so many things in common, but unlike me, he doesn’t listen to podcasts. He’s tried, and says he’ll listen more if it were right in front of him. He needs a reminder of sorts in the car during his morning commute.
This is what I like to call the T-Booty, get your booty in the car opportunity.
Many of you think podcasts have penetrated the car more than we actually have – we haven’t. In our diary study, Share of Ear, we measure the time that Americans spend listening to audio every day. Of course there’s music, but there’s also listening to spoken word audio, such as non-music audio from talk-radio or interview podcasts, for example.
Look at the time spent listening to spoken word audio at home. Yes, these numbers represent time, not people, and we know that 23% of the time Americans spend listening to spoken word audio at home comes from podcasts. When we isolate listening in the car, podcasts account for 10% of all spoken word audio consumption. Less than half of what it is at home.
When Tim drives his 2008 Ford Focus, what is in front of him is the radio. Many people are like Tim, and it’s the reason why radio and satellite radio are a lot bigger in the car than at home.
Tech companies, don’t take your foot off the gas on technology that will help podcasts becomes the driver of the car, I’m talking voice assistants, interfaces, car things, and car play.
Creators, you can help too. Buy your audience a car with Apple Car play. Jokes aside. You can remind your audience that people can take your podcast anywhere. Consider making content that attracts people not only at home, but also while driving – especially during their morning commute.
Keep in mind, if podcasting were as big in the car as it is at home, it’s unlikely we would’ve seen that dip in monthly listening that occurred this year as people left their houses.
Put a Tini bit of your content on TikTok Opportunity
It’s impressive to see podcasting thrive at home. Especially when we have to compete for time with other mediums like streaming giants, video games, and addicting social media.
We can’t put our pods on Netflix or Call of Duty, but we can put pods on social media. So instead of competing with them for time, we can use them to be discovered. And many of you do already.
I want to highlight one platform that you could be missing out on. The same one on which my niece Ashley saw a clip of Alex Cooper talking about narcissism and parenthood, which then introduced her to the “Call Her Daddy” podcast.
The same platform her younger brother Sebastian, who we call Tini, says kills brains cells, but still uses it.
It’s what I call the put a Tini bit of your content on TikTok, Ash soon as possible opportunity.
TikTok is currently the fastest growing social media platform. In 2020, eleven percent of the U.S. population reported using the platform – the lowest number among the brands on this graph. However, a year later, TikTok ties with Twitter in terms of usage. Today, over a third of Americans say they ever use TikTok – surpassing Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
The platform is relatively new, so be quick, TikTok usage, as you can see, has tripled in two years.
Talking about your podcast, or even better, posting video highlights of your podcast to the platform could help you get discovered and cut through the social media time people could be using to listen to your podcast instead
Video highlights and video podcasts Opportunity
Video highlights and video of your podcast is another opportunity, considering how many already listen to podcasts with video component.
Today, 94% of the U.S. weekly podcast audience ever listen to audio only podcasts. But a substantial 72% ever listened to podcasts with video they actively watch while listening. Now clearly, video might not be for every podcaster, but before you put this idea to bed prematurely consider that you wouldn’t only be appealing to those that are already consuming such podcasts, you’d also be giving your show a chance to be discovered by people using visual-first platforms like YouTube for content other than podcasts.
Take my nephew Damian aka Mambo for example. He is the first person I met who loves to watch other people play video games on YouTube more than he likes actually playing them. People do this all the time now, but when I first witnessed this ten years ago when mambo was six. I was baffled. When I was little, my older brothers used to give me an unplugged controller just to shut me up because I wanted to play so bad.
But like Mambo, the world is using YouTube for other media and they are running into podcasts on the platform. It’s a form of discovery. Searching the platform is the top three method for finding new podcasts among weekly podcast listeners, 13% discover podcasts on YouTube most often, four points away from searching other internet content, and one point higher than social media posts.
Meaning the power that social media has to promote your show across podcast listeners is equivalent to the power that one single platform, YouTube, can provide.
Today, YouTube is the number two platform that the U.S. Weekly Podcast audience ever uses to listen to podcasts, a little less than half say they ever use it to listen; up from 44% two years ago. I’m highlighting YouTube, because out of the other services out there, I’m willing to bet less of the people in this room today have their podcast on the platform. Podcasting could see a surge by reaching people like my nephew, Mambo, who use YouTube for other content.
If Gen Z is the future audience, Generation Alpha is the future future audience. That’s right, Alpha is the next generation — those born in 2010 or after. And what better way to expand podcasting than to plant the seeds for the next generation, some of which haven’t even been born yet.
YouTube is popular among my nephews because it was integrated into their lives when they were young. Podcasts could emulate a similar experience with the next generation, and Children’s podcast producers have already begun, here is an indication of how far they’ve gotten.
Today, one-third of U.S. weekly podcast listening adults have at least one child under 12
Of these parents with children under 12, 30% say their kids listen to podcasts.
If we can elevate this number and start listeners young, it could be premium fuel for another increase in podcasting listening
Opportunities from older brothers
Formatic Breakthroughs: Older brother’s footsteps. Anyone have older siblings? It’s can be fun but also rough, especially when you have four older brothers.
Now, the podcast medium has older siblings too. Radio, for example, told podcasting that it could create worlds and captivate people by simply using audio.
Radio and television said to podcasts that it could make a little money from advertising.
Ads: Older brother’s mistakes Another good thing about having older brothers is that you can also learn what not to do from their mistakes.
In this case, I’m referring to the advertising experience. In an online survey of more than 1,000 people who listened to podcasts five or more hours each week, people we call podcast Super Listeners – 10% in 2019 agreed that there were way too many advertisements on podcasts. A lot lower relative to the listeners who said the same about radio and TV. But what has happened since?
Thanks to Ad Results media for the continued support of this report, we were able to capture that this metric for podcasts has more than doubled. Twice as many Super Listeners are finding podcasts to be overcrowded with ads 2021 than in 2019. Now, of course the lesson here is not to stop advertising. But I think we can prioritize the ad experience a bit more.
The After These Messages study which Edison Research conducted and Sounds Profitable unveiled yesterday, showed me that it’s pretty hard to mess up an ad on a good show. But let’s not take it for granted, let’s not use DAI carelessly by rupturing people’s eardrums because the ad was integrated five times louder than the actual content itself. Being cognoscente of ad overload, and ad quality as you go into future will prevent ads from being a reason why podcast listeners choose to listen to something else.
Wide open spaces Opportunity
Now as you know, podcast listening has grown rapidly in recent years, but not all areas have witnessed the same growth. According to this year’s Infinite Dial, 31% of Americans living in small rural areas in the U.S. listen to podcasts monthly, which differs from that 44% among people that live in cities with a population over 50,000 and 42% among people living in the suburbs.
Small cities and rural areas of the U.S. are fertile ground for listening. As you might expect, these people are slightly older, more likely to boomers, Republican, and evangelical Christians. Decoding how you’re going convert these listens could expand podcasting into this space.
Women Podcasters Opportunity
Another opportunity is to pass the mic to women.
This year, Sounds Profitable published a study using Edison Podcast Metrics data that revealed a gender gap among podcasts creators. The study looked at more than 600 weekly podcasts listeners that had ever produced, or currently produce their own podcast. Among this group, only 29% were estimated to be women vs 51% of the U.S. population that are female.
By elevating female voices, balancing this gender ratio, and giving women a chance in this country to tell their stories on a podcast, we might just be adding a crucial puzzle piece that could catapult podcast listening to new levels. I mean, with such a big void, I don’t think I’m being dramatic.
The Opportunity to flourish like Flora and Luis (from Coco)
I introduced you to many family members today, but I haven’t introduced you to my baby.
Nope, I don’t have kids, nor am I expecting a kid soon. I’m talking about my baby, the Latino Podcast Listener Report
This has been my passion project, and nothing is more rewarding than to hear creators tell me how it’s helped them.
In its three years, we have seen monthly podcast listening among Latinos on the right close in on that of the general population on the left. Still, there has been a stubborn gap that won’t go away, which is an opportunity.
My father was born in Puebla, Mexico , and worked two jobs as a cook and as janitor to pay bills and managed keep our family right above the poverty line much throughout my life.
My mom was born in Guerrero, Mexico, never graduated high school but always made sure I went. One the coolest things my mom ever did was when we went to go see CoCo, the Disney movie. Familias Mexicanas, Latino families, we roll deep and as the lights dimmed for the movie to start I hear my mom say “quieren tamales.” This lady, she nevers answers the door for strangers but she’ll sneak in tamales into a movie theater for her family.
Little did I know, though, my family in Mexico, they were doing the same thing. Coco was very popular movie here — in the U.S. it won an Oscar. But it became and it still is the number one movie in Mexico.
Similarly, if you can tap into the opportunity among Latinos born outside of the U.S. that aren’t quite listening on a level that their U.S. born counterparts are yet, you’ll be tapping into potential gateway to America Latina and beyond, depending on your show. It’s what I call the “Flourish like Flora and Luis in multiple countries” opportunity.
Black Podcast Listening
Now, another key to propelling podcast listening again could lie in the hands of Black podcasters.
In the Black Podcast Listener Report in 2021, another one of my passions, which is sponsored by SXM Media and Mindshare, weekly podcast listeners were asked if they ever listened to select topics. Twenty-six percent said business, and 20% said history, for example. Now look at the percentage of Black listeners who said they would be interested in listening to the topic if it included Black stories and perspectives, a lot more than those that actually listen.
In addition to this, 59% of Black podcast listeners agree they would listen to more podcasts if there were more Black hosts. Black history, Black excellence in business, and Black stories in fiction, presented by Black podcasters, would shield us from another downturn in overall podcast listening
I want to leave you with one final indicator and final opportunity: FEAR.
Fear is good.
I learned this on my first day of college. I had heard it on the radio that morning, an accident on Kings Highway, but didn’t think anything of it until I got a call my brother later that afternoon. My father had been hit by a car, and was launched from his bike. With a brain hemorrhage, and heavy internal bleeding – he entered into a coma. I cried all night. Those days, in the uncertainty of whether he would wake up is when I learned something: when fear is around, so is opportunity. That’s how you smell out an opportunity, that’s how you detect them.
See, I was a pretty immature kid back then, lacked effort in school, didn’t do well with authority. But with this new fear of not knowing what life had in store I had no other choice, but to capitalize on the opportunity to grow up. My mom and I got hit with the eviction letter, we moved in with my older brother – on the couch, working to pay for school. I had no choice but to make moves.
Now my dad woke up from his coma two months later, he was never the same and neither was our family. But that was enough for us. And as much as I wish that didn’t happen to my dad, I look at that moment in my life as the turning point. I would never look at fear the same way again.
The same fear I got when Larry Rosin president of Edison Research asked me to do a keynote speech in Spanish in 2019, and I thought to myself, I’m not even articulate enough in English, how can I be articulate enough in Spanish.
It’s the same fear I got in high school when racists kids and racist jokes got so bad that I didn’t want to school anymore. I had a choice to either be a shame and hide from my Mexican heritage or wear it on sleeve. I chose to embrace it
I carried that attitude into my first podcast movement 2019 when I had annoyed everyone about doing Latino research in podcasting, even then I was scared to introduce my self to people. But if hadn’t overcome these fears, there never would have been a Latino Podcast Listener Report, which would have never led to the Black Podcast Listener Report, which never would have led me to this stage in front of all your beautiful faces.
And that’s what I want you to think about going into the most opportune moment, the biggest opportunity in front of your faces right now, and that’s this week.
Don’t be afraid learn something, speak up often, and network with everyone.
Fear indicates opportunity, and when your heart races a little bit, you just know opportunity is right around the corner.
So, whether you’re scared of going on video for the first time on your podcast or scared to carry out and initiative because it’s too risky, consider that it might be an opportunity. And if your favorite to go up to your favorite podcaster, or if afraid to go up to me. Do what I did today: introduce yourself