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Forty-one percent of UK residents age 16+ (approximately 23 million people) have listened to a podcast in the last month, according to The Infinite Dial 2021 UK, the first study of its kind in the United Kingdom.
The Infinite Dial 2021 UK was conducted by Edison Research and sponsored by Bauer Media Group UK and Spotify. The study surveyed 1,000 UK residents age 16+ on a variety of measures including online digital audio platforms, radio, social media, smart speakers, and more.
Findings from the study show several strengths in the audio space in the UK, including podcasts. Seventy-one percent of those age 16+ are familiar with podcasts, and 59% of those age 16+ have ever listened to a podcast. The UK is on par with the U.S. regarding monthly podcast listening, as both countries have 41% of the 16+ population who have listened in the last month. The UK is slightly behind the U.S. regarding weekly podcast listening as 25% of the UK population age 16+ has listened to a podcast in the last week versus 29% of the U.S. population having listened in the last week. Weekly podcast listeners in the UK listen to an average of five podcast episodes per week.
Seventy-five percent of UK residents age 16+ listen to online audio each month, and 66% of UK residents age 16+ listen to online audio each week.
Facebook is the social media brand used most often, even among younger people. Fifty-five percent of social media users age 16+ in the UK use Facebook most often, followed by Instagram (8%), Snapchat (8%) and TikTok (7%). Among those age 16-34, the rank is the same but the proportions are different: 48% use Facebook most often followed by Instagram (14%), Snapchat (15%) and TikTok (10%)
One-quarter (25%) of the UK population age 16+ owns a smart speaker. Of those who own a smart speaker, 44% own one, 28% own two, and 28% own three or more of the devices.
According to Larry Rosin, President of Edison Research, “It is exciting to analyze the findings from the UK Infinite Dial in the context of other countries. It is evident that the UK is on par regarding many measures of consumption, including monthly podcast listening, and actually outpaces the US in areas like weekly radio reach and weekly online audio reach.”
Graham Bryce, Chief Operating Officer, Bauer Media Audio UK said, “The Infinite Dial research offers a unique insight into the consumption of digital media in the UK and highlights the growing opportunity audio provides commercial partners as a transparent and brand safe environment combined with data-led digital audio advertising at scale. We are now able to offer enhanced opportunities for advertisers which complement our leading radio business of 20 million weekly listeners in the UK, meaning we can offer the best of broadcast advertising and the advantages of digital targeting through our digital audio network Octave.”
James Cator, Spotify UK and Ireland, Head of Studios, said, “The first Infinite Dial report for the U.K. is a clear demonstration that consumers’ habits when it comes to audio consumption have changed rapidly, and are continuing to do so. As the UK’s most popular audio platform, Spotify is a key part of driving and delivering this change – as we’re seeing in podcast consumption in particular. You only have to look at how excited people have been to receive their Spotify Wrapped 2021 year-in-review to understand the enormous role that audio plays for people, and how creators soundtrack the world around us.”
About The Infinite Dial
The Infinite Dial is the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America, created by Edison Research and tracked annually since 1998, and The Infinite Dial study has been conducted in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, and South Africa. The Infinite Dial® study uses the gold standard of nationally representative survey research—a random probability telephone sample comprised of both mobile phones and landlines—to produce a nationally representative, projectable look at the behaviors of the United Kingdom population ages 16 and over.
How the study was conducted
Over 1,000 people were interviewed to explore UK residents’ use of digital platforms and new media. In the fourth quarter of 2021, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 16 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling through both landline phones and mobile phones. Data was weighted to national 16+ UK population estimates.
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 Research 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 2021 U.S. elections, Edison Research provided exit polls and tabulated the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News.
About Bauer Media
Bauer Media UK reaches over 25 million UK consumers through a portfolio of world-class, multi-platform media and entertainment brands including heat, Kiss, Grazia, Empire, TV Choice, Take a Break, Bella, Magic and Absolute Radio. It creates and curates entertaining media content that audiences love whenever, wherever and however they want through a multi-channel strategy and a focus on product excellence and audience insight. The result is an exciting array of influential brands, content and talent that provide compelling and engaging advertising opportunities with valuable audiences for UK commercial partners. Bauer Media UK is part of the Bauer Media Group, one of the world’s largest privately owned media businesses with media assets all over the globe. www.bauermedia.co.uk
Spotify transformed music listening forever when it launched in 2008. Discover, manage and share over 70 million tracks, including more than 3.2 million podcast titles, for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features for music including improved sound quality and an on-demand, offline, and ad-free music listening experience. Today, Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with 381m users, including 172m subscribers, across 184 markets.