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For our readers of a certain age in the U.S. …let’s say elder millennials and older…a core memory from your days home from school might be the ritual of watching The Price is Right game show on television. One of the more popular games, Cliffhanger, involved a toy mountain climber who ascended his cardboard mountain in increments of one dollar as the contestant guessed the correct price of the item. What made the game memorable was a catchy yodeling-type song that played every time he took some steps up the mountain. What made the game compelling was the risk that if the contestant guessed incorrectly, the mountain climber could dramatically fall off the top of the cliff.
It’s easy to imagine our toy mountain climber trekking his way steadily up our latest podcast reach graph over the past few years. Although there is no catchy song to go along with it, we find it memorable because the last four quarters of Share of Ear data from Edison Research has shown a consistent uptick in reach among Americans 13+.
In 2014, the first year of the Share of Ear survey, podcasts reached 5% of those in the U.S. age 13+. As of our most recent data, Q3 2022, podcasts now reach 18% of those age 13+ in the U.S. — a 20% increase in the past year (Q3 2021), and over three times the reach of 2014. The years in between show a steady growth in reach. There have been some fluctuations in podcast reach from quarter to quarter as we saw the beginning and end of quarantine restrictions, but this graph that shows the climb of podcast reach should be encouraging for the podcast community.
Podcasts account for 24% of all spoken word audio consumption among those age 13+ according to the latest Share of Ear data, and we know that time spent with podcasts has grown. But this graph isn’t about time spent with podcasts. This graph shows that more people are listening to podcasts, which means content creators have the opportunity to grow time spent listening with those people.
What makes this graph compelling is to see an upward trek for our podcast reach data, with no cliffhanger in sight.