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We are in a moment when podcast listening is at an all-time high. Today, 42% of Americans age 12+ listen to the medium every month, according to The Infinite Dial®. However, there are still generations of Americans that podcasting is overlooking. Last week at Podcast Movement 2023 in Denver, Edison Research Senior Director of Research Gabriel Soto demonstrated why each generation of Americans, from Boomers to Kids, is crucial to the growth of podcasting and why each is worth appealing to. But the most important generation to appeal to might just be today’s kids.
As you can see from the graphic below, of the five age cohorts Soto analyzed in Denver, the highest reach of weekly podcast listening occurs among U.S. Millennials (currently age 25-42). Half (50%) listen to the medium every week. Listening rates diminish as we go down (and up) in age.
Looking at the younger generations (the bottom two bars in the graph), thirty percent of Gen Z (age 13-24) and 23% of Generation Alpha (kids 6-12) are weekly podcast listeners. Podcasting has not done enough to appeal to listeners under 25 — the absence of podcasts like Disney’s Frozen before this year’s Podcast Movement is an example of that. If that were the case, Gen-z and Gen Alpha podcast listening would be similar to that of Millennials. Historically, the hope has been that future generations will adopt podcasts as Millennials once did — as they get older. But this state of complacency could hinder podcasting’s growth.
It’s impossible to know if Gen-Z and Generation Alpha, two generations inundated with hundreds of competing digital platforms, will adopt podcasts as much as Millennials by the time they mature to the same age (25-42). But we do know the medium can significantly influence its destiny.
Ages 6-12 are some of the most transformative years of our lives. It’s why boomers still listen to radio – because they grew up with it, why Soto says he still plays Pokémon — because he grew up with it, or why Gen-Z’s go-to medium is YouTube – because they grew up with it. Taking a shot at appealing to kids today might just lead to podcasts – your podcast — defining their generation.
According to the Gen-Z Podcast Listener Report from Edison Research and SXM Media, 13-24-year-olds who started listening as children spend an average of three hours more per week with podcasts than those who started listening later in life. As with many behaviors, starting young is a pathway to developing an affinity for podcast listening.
We encourage you to take a few minutes and click this link to watch one video from the Kids Podcast Listener Report that highlights today’s kids are not only the listeners of tomorrow but also the creators of the future.