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As Podcast Listening Grows, So Does Co-Listening.


The number of Americans that has listened to a podcast has increased by 45% during the past five years, and more than doubled in the past decade. As more people listen, new research from Nielsen says that podcasting is becoming less of a solo activity, especially among younger listeners. In the latest Podcasting Today report, Nielsen says among teenagers aged 13 to 17 co-listening is most commonly occurring during the morning commuting hours when nearly half (47%) of parents say their teens typically listen to the same episode as they do. That not only reflects a greater number of moms and dads making podcasts part of their morning ritual, but also some podcast listening habits are returning to pre-pandemic levels as Americans continue to return to in-office work.


The latest Nielsen report shows that some podcasts are more likely to be listened to on a speaker versus on headphones. Comedy leads the co-listening list, with 46% of those surveyed saying they would be open to listening to an episode with others. It is followed by a three-way tie among the True Crime, Society & Culture, and News genres, with more than a third of people saying they would also be open to hearing shows in those categories with others.


Comedy also remains the biggest podcast genre in terms of reach according to Nielsen. It says the format had more than 28 million listeners in May, up 64% compared to the genre’s reach in 2019. The news format ranks second with 23.9 million listeners, which is a third more than it had five years ago. Third place Society & Culture grew by nearly two-thirds, with 23.4 million listeners in May according to Nielsen.


True Crime is however the genre that has had the biggest growth in audience during the past five years. Nielsen estimates it had 20.8 million listeners in May, which is double what it had in 2019. The Fiction genre, while much smaller, also had nearly as much growth. Its audience totaled 10.9 million listeners in May, up 93% versus what the category had five years ago.


Overall, Nielsen says among the top three genres, Comedy and Society & Culture have added the greatest number of new listeners.


The data from Nielsen Scarborough Podcast Buying Power service shows the typical podcast listener consumes nine podcasts each month, as nearly a third (31%) of those surveyed said they had listened to a podcast in the past week. And 42% said they listened to a podcast in the past month, with more than half (53%) of that group are between the ages of 12 and 54.


Download Nielsen’s Podcasting Today report HERE.

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