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Audio audiences are on the rise

March 12, 2019 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

Podcasts helped reinvented the audio audience, attracting new listeners to a robust supply of binge-worthy news and entertainment content. Now consumers can listen to what they want, when and where they want. While podcasts had been around for over a decade, in 2014 they received an explosion of attention in the marketplace (with the incredible success of Serial and the debut of Apple’s podcast App).

Today more than 50% of people have listened to a podcast. In fact, according to the 2019 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital, at least one-third of the U.S. population reports listening to a podcast in the last month, up from 26% a year ago. That’s an estimate of 90 million people each month. Monthly podcast listening increased across all age groups year-over-year. Interestingly, adults 55+ report a significant increase in podcast listening from 33% in 2018 to 40% in 2019. Other demographics show smaller increases, persons, age 12-24 from 88% to 91%, and persons 25-54 from 73% to 74%.

Weekly podcast listening is up to 22% from a year ago (17%) among persons 12+, or 62 million people each week. Podcast listeners listen to approximately seven podcasts a week.

In addition, there are now 189 million listeners to online audio which includes listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the. In fact, online audio doubled since 2012 increasing from one-third to two-thirds of the U.S. population. Weekly listening to online audio is also growing, now at 60% from 57% last year. Weekly time spent listening to online audio shows a strong increase from 13 minutes 40 seconds to 16 minutes until 43 seconds.

Podcasting is not the only audio opportunity content creators should be focused on these days. Smart speaker ownership has reached 23 million, up from only 7 million two years ago. Amazon Alexa dominates the market (16 million) followed by Google Home (7 million). Audiobook listening is also on the rise, with  million people saying that they’ve listened to one, up from 44 million in 2018. And while AM/FM radio still dominates in-car audio, both Online audio and Podcasts rose slightly. Audio is an opportunity that smart publishers are listening to.

As Tom Standage, head of digital strategy and deputy editor at The Economist, put it: “The commercial model for podcasts is really good, much better than video pre-roll, which is a horrible business. Video is expensive to make, and the CPMs are low. Advertisers want to reach podcast listeners.”

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