Podcast Audiences Continue to Grow: Almost Half Have Listened

March 21, 2018

The popularity of online audio continues to rise. Some 64% of Americans aged 12 and older this year report listening to online audio on a monthly basis, and 89% of those listeners (57% of respondents overall) listen on a weekly basis, according to the latest edition of the annual Infinite Dial report.

Online audio refers to listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet.

Monthly online audio listening has grown across age groups, but remains more popular among youth. Some 88% of 12-24-year-olds listened to online audio during the month prior to the survey, as did 73% of 25-54-year-olds. By comparison, one-third (33%) of respondents ages 55 and older did so.

This is supported by MarketingCharts’ own research into media audiences. In the latest US Media Audience Demographics report, 25-34-year-olds were 27% more likely than the online adult average to listen to internet radio on a monthly basis. Online adults ages 65 and up, by contrast, were about half as likely to do so. Even so, the internet radio audience profiles as being older than the online TV audience, as 38% of listeners are ages 45 and older.

Podcasts’ Popularity Keeps Slowly Rising

Podcasts’ rise is being fueled in part by growing awareness of this medium: 64% of respondents ages 12 and older are familiar with the term “podcasting,” up from 49% three years ago. As audiences grow, advertisers are moving to the medium, with podcast advertising forecast to double last year.

This year, 44% of respondents report having ever listened to a podcast, representing a 10% year-over-year climb from 40% last year.

More Americans are also listening on a regular basis, though the rise is modest:

  • Some 26% listened to a podcast in the month prior to the survey, up from 24% last year; and
  • Some 17% listened in the week prior to the survey, up from 15%.

Among weekly podcast listeners, fully 82% listen to multiple podcasts during the week, with an average of 7 listened per week.

Podcasts continue to appeal slightly more to men (27% listening monthly) than women (24%), though more women are listening this year than last, while male audiences are flat.

Among age groups, 12-24-year-olds (30%) and 25-54-year-olds (32%) are about even in their propensity to tune in monthly. About 1 in 8 adults ages 55 and older say they listen to podcasts on a monthly basis.

In other notable findings concerning podcasts:

  • More than two-thirds (69%) of podcast listeners tune in most often on a mobile device, up from 55% in 2015;
  • About half (49%) listen most often at home, with the car/truck (22%) the next most popular location;
  • 8 in 10 podcast listeners typically listen to most (45%) of the episode or the entire episode (35%);
  • About 1 in 5 have increased the speed of their podcasts in order to listen to them faster.

Other Survey Findings:

Separate findings from the report indicate that:

  • Pandora remains the clear digital audio brand leader in terms of awareness (85% of respondents aged 12 and up), followed by iHeartRadio (67%) and Spotify (65%); a report from Nielsen confirms continued growth in on-demand streaming in the music business;
  • Some 31% of survey respondents tuned in to Pandora during the month prior to the survey, compared to 20% for Spotify and 11% for iHeartRadio, but Spotify and Amazon Music are the fastest-growing sources;
  • While only 8% of streaming audio listeners say they listen to Amazon Music most often, that figure almost doubles to 15% among Smart Speaker owners;
  • Almost half (46%) of respondents used YouTube to watch music videos or listen to music during the week prior to the survey, up from 43% last year;
  • Among respondents aged 18 and up who had driven or ridden in a car in the month prior to the survey, AM/FM radio was the top medium for listening (82%, steady from last year), followed by a CD player (49%, down from 52%), owned digital music (45%, flat), online radio (28%, up from 26%) and podcasts (23%); and
  • AM/FM continues to be the audio sourced used most often in the car, by 56% of respondents, though online audio (12%) is growing as a most-used source.

About the Data: The results are based on a national telephone survey conducted in January and February 2018 of 2,000 people aged 12 and older using random digit dialing techniques to both cell phones and landlines. The survey was offered in both English and Spanish and the results were weighted to national 12+ population figures.

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