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Another Survey Finds Majority Of Americans Are Podcast Consumers.


In what is believed to be a first, a survey is showing a majority of Americans are consuming podcasts. Involved Media’s just-released research shows that thanks to the expanded reach of video, 51% of people it surveyed said they regularly consume podcasts. That includes 23% who listen to podcasts, 15% who watch podcasts, and 13% who listen and watch shows.


“We see weekly listening is by far the most common — about half of podcast listeners are listening a few hours a week. And that aligns with what we know about the average cadence of most podcasts,” said Tess Erickson, Director of Strategy and Research at Involved Media. The survey reports nearly half (47%) of podcast listeners said they consume shows weekly, while a quarter (24%) listen daily and 29% listen to podcasts monthly. Erickson said that to account for what may be some confusion among video viewers about what they’re watching is or isn’t a podcast, Involved Media asked about their regular consumption habits to weed out a random video clip that might be construed as a podcast.


Involved Media’s survey has a large sample. It collected data from 2,002 Americans in December 2023 and January 2024. The data shows that AM/FM radio remains the most-used audio platform, but digital audio is growing.


“Radio still has a place in the majority of Americans’ lives. It has a really strong place in many people’s morning routines,” Erickson said. “And podcasts are especially valuable when we’re trying to reach people who are not necessarily getting hit by ads on other platforms.”


The survey found 72% of those surveyed say they listen to streaming audio. And those habits are not exclusive. Half (51%) of radio listeners also said they listen to streaming audio with ads and 63% of ad-supported streaming audio listeners are listening to radio. Adding SiriusXM only extends monthly audio reach to 79% with most listeners also listening elsewhere. Erickson said the survey shows the “transition” underway in how audio is consumed. The data shows 37% of respondents are listening to streaming audio ads or radio daily. “This really speaks to the strength of streaming audio,” she said, theorizing that when people pay for a subscription audio service they are also more likely to use it more frequently. The report says podcasts are a valuable way to reach high-income audiences that pay to skip ads.


News & Politics was the top podcast genre among people surveyed by Involved Media. It says four in ten listened to shows in that genre. Entertainment & Pop Culture (39%) and Comedy (38%) were close behind, followed by Sports (29%).


“The majority of people are listening in to two or more genres. Two-thirds of people are listening to two or more genres,” Erickson said. “Of the major podcast genres, News has the most unique audience — so the largest percent of their audience that isn’t accessible to other genres. But still, the majority of their audience is still watching other podcasts.”


Detailing the findings Wednesday on a webinar, she said that the most unique audience of all was the 1% people who wrote-in that they listened to or watched religious podcasts. “The majority of people who turn to podcasts for religious content specifically are just looking for that religious content and are not necessarily looking into what else is available on the platform,” Erickson said.


Involved Media also examined where each audio platform has the biggest reach, confirming many findings of earlier research. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of podcast listeners said they listen while at home, which is more than twice the 26% who listen at work. But as more people have digital dashboards, podcast listening in the car is growing. The survey finds 38% of podcast listeners say they often listen while in a vehicle.


“Radio is still the king of the car. If you are listening to radio, you are most likely driving. And in fact, two-thirds of radio listeners are saying that they listened on their commute. So this is a really important part of many people’s morning routines,” Erickson said. “But where we see the strength of streaming audio and podcast is at home.” She said the most common secondary activity for podcast listening is surfing the web or scanning social media — a finding that helps explain why podcast ads excel at driving online activity for brands.


In terms of demographics, the survey says daily podcast users are 13% more likely to be male than female, 40% more likely to be under age 35, and 27% more likely to be a parent than the population overall.


“As a shared experience, we see that of parents who listen to podcasts, only about 20% are listening to kids and family content,” Erickson said. “So 80% are probably using podcasts to engage with content that they themselves find more interesting, and to use the small amounts of time they have alone in the car to listen to what they are specifically interested in.”

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