The Spoken Word Audio Report 2022 from NPR and Edison Research
NPR & Edison Report Shows Growth in Audio Listeners & Time Spent Listening
New report shows Gen Z spends 214% more time with spoken word than 13-34s did in 2014
Somerville, NJ (October 27, 2022) Almost half (46%) of the U.S. population listens to spoken word audio content daily, according to the latest Spoken Word Audio Report released from NPR and Edison Research today. The fourth iteration of the annual report explores the ways spoken word media consumption in the U.S. has increased over time, including the number of listeners, and how long they listen. The findings were presented in a webinar hosted by National Public Media (NPM) VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson and Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and are available now at npr.org/spokenwordaudio.
This year’s study also includes a special focus on how younger demographics are increasingly more interested in the medium, and reveals a 214% increase in listening to spoken word audio among those age 13-24. Key findings from the study include:
- The number of spoken word audio listeners continues to increase. There are an estimated 26 million more people listening to spoken word audio in the U.S. than eight years ago. An estimated 131 million people in the U.S. age 13+ are daily spoken word audio listeners, up from 105 million daily listeners in 2014.
- Spoken word’s share of all audio is increasing among all listeners. Listeners age 13+ spend 29% of their total audio time with spoken word content, up from 20% in 2014, a 45% increase.
- Listeners age 13-24 show the most explosive growth with share of spoken word audio. That Gen Z segment spends 22% of their time with spoken word audio, compared with those age 13-24 in 2014 who spent only 7% of their time with spoken word audio, a 214% increase for this age group.
- For the first time ever, daily spoken word audio listeners spend a majority of their audio time with spoken word. Those who listen to spoken word audio daily spend 51% of their total daily audio time with spoken word.
Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick referred to her past experience in talk radio, and noted, “The relationship between content makers and listeners remains as strong as it was a decades ago, even as the audio space has evolved with more spoken word content available on demand. Digital platforms have opened up new ways for people to listen to and connect.”
Additional key findings:
- Spoken word audio listening has continued the shift to mobile devices: 34% of all spoken word audio is consumed on a mobile device, up from 9% in 2014. Younger listeners are more likely to listen on a mobile device: Among those age 13-24, 62% of their spoken word audio is consumed on a mobile phone
- 47% of time spent with spoken word audio is spent with AM/FM radio, 21% with podcasts, 11% with audiobooks, and 21% with other
- 58% of time spent listening to news audio content is with NPR/Public Radio
“It’s exciting to see the phenomenal sustained growth of Spoken Word across diverse audience groups over the last 8 years – especially among Gen-Z listeners. The findings in this report highlight the current opportunity and future potential that exists by engaging with audiences through the powerful medium of spoken word” said NPM VP of Sponsorship Marketing, Lamar Johnson.
How the study was conducted
Edison Research’s Share of Ear is a quarterly survey of Americans who are asked to keep a detailed one-day diary of their audio usage. Share of Ear utilizes a nationally representative sample of those age 13+. The sample for this study was 4,118
NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling that connects with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in-person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now it’s easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, “Play NPR,” and you’ll be tuned into your local Member station’s live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Apple, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, and Univision. Edison Research is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, Spotify, SXM Media, ESPN, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space. Edison Research has conducted 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.