The amount of time Americans are spending with podcasts has grown rapidly during the past five years, and newly-released data from Edison Research shows that is particularly true among the age group ad buyers care about the most. Edison says podcast’s share of time spent with ad-supported audio nearly tripled between 2017 and 2022, jumping from five percent then to 14% today. That makes podcasts the fastest-growing ad-supported medium among this key demographic.
“The big story is podcasting, whose 25-54 share has nearly tripled. That is significant growth,” said Cumulus Media and Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard in a video releasing the Edison findings.
Podcasts also now have the second-largest share of audio time among ad-supported media, trailing only AM/FM radio. That said, broadcast radio is by far the leader. While its share has declined during the past five years, its 60% share of time remains five-times the size of podcasting.
“There’s been a little bit of erosion but the streaming portion of overall radio listening has gone up,” said Bouvard. He points out that Pandora was beating AM/FM streaming five years ago, but the roles have since reversed. “AM/FM streaming is now beating Pandora two-to-one,” he said. So a complete shift. Pandora’s collapsing and AM/FM’s shares for streaming have doubled.”
The Edison data however reveals an even bigger growth curve for podcasting in terms of the number of people podcast reaches. It shows one out of four persons aged 18 to 49 are now reached daily by podcasting, a three-fold increase in the number that was reached in 2016.
“The reach exploded for podcasts, and then it grew again in the just-released Q2 2022 Share of Ear. This is extraordinary. Over the last six years, reach among 18-49s has tripled. In a typical day in America, one out of four 18-49 year olds are listening to podcasts. This is significant.”
The Edison data shows a similar trend among 25-54 year olds, with the reach of podcasts also tripling during the past six years as it rose from 7% in 2016 to 22% today.
Bouvard says during the pandemic there was “no major shift” generally in how adults aged 18 and older spend their time with ad-supported audio. But the Edison Share of Ear data does show that among this larger age group, podcasting’s share has seen “significant growth” as it has increased from a seven percent share in 2019 to an 11% share in 2022 and rising to second place behind AM/FM radio.
“Over the long haul, it’s a very consistent story so the pandemic did not have any real impact on audio shares,” Bouvard said.
Bouvard also released Edison data showing podcasting’s reach on smart speakers. It shows nearly a third (30%) of the time adults spend listening to ad-supported audio on smart speakers is to a podcast. Broadcast radio is ahead at 42%, but podcasts lead all the streaming music services among those 18 and older – with the ad-supported version of Pandora doing the best at 16%.
For ad sellers looking to capitalize on the midterm election season, Edison’s data also shows 11% of registered voters listen to podcasts. The medium does better with Democrats (13%) than with Republicans (9%), with independents (11%) taking their familiar position between the two.