Weekly Insights · April 19, 2023

Weekly Insights 4.19.2023 Boomer Podcast Listener Potential

By Edison Research

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For podcasting to continue to grow and be accepted as a fully mainstream medium, it needs to be used by a large majority of the population. It’s hard to get to 50% monthly usage overall when any large group is holding that total down with lower numbers.

As such, last week we debuted a new report, sponsored by our generous friends at NPR, entitled “Hit Play, Boomer! Podcasting’s Age 55+ Opportunity.” We encourage you to download the full deck or watch the accompanying video presentation (which includes interviews with both listeners and non-listeners among Boomers), both found here, but today we are going to zoom in on just a few items about podcasting and older Americans.

The graph above illustrates the adoption of online audio over the last six waves of our Infinite Dial® study, which is sponsored by Amazon Music, Wondery, and ART19. The lower line in blue shows what portion of those age 55 and older have listened to any online audio – meaning either the streams of radio stations or pureplays like Pandora or Spotify in the month before we contacted them. Two points to be had here, a majority of those 55 and older are now consuming online audio, and the gap between the older group and the younger group (represented by the purple line) is narrowing.

By contrast, the graph below looks at the development of podcasting among those 55 and older over the same last six waves of The Infinite Dial:

As this graph shows, after what may have been a pandemic-driven boost in 2021’s numbers, monthly listening has gone down in each of our last two estimates.

In combination, the two graphs illuminate the potential for podcasting among this group, and the disconnect that seems to have happened to date. More than half of older Americans are regularly using online audio, but far fewer are regularly listening to podcasts. If the level of monthly podcast listening among those age 55 and older could be brought to the level of their streaming usage, it would mean an additional 30 million or so podcast listeners to the total monthly podcast listening ranks.

There is much to be done to close this gap, and there are ideas and thought-starters in the presentation. We’d love to hear your ideas for how to move podcasting forward among Boomers – comment on our LinkedIn post here with your thoughts.

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