Podcasters may increasingly be focused on capturing subscription dollars, but a new eMarketer forecast suggests digital audio subscriptions’ share will hit its peak in 2022. The firm forecasts after several years of consecutive increases, U.S. digital audio subscription revenue will peak at a 63.9% share of total digital audio revenue in 2022. Dollar figures will continue to grow after that, but eMarketer says subscription revenue will make up slightly less of the digital audio ad revenue pie as ad spending grows in share. By 2025 it says audio subscription revenue’s share will be 62.1% – or nearly two points less of total audio revenue.
“The number of paid audio subscribers has been increasing in the U.S. That figure will reach 121.9 million by year-end 2021, for an 11.2% increase over 2020,” says eMarketer in a blog post. “We expect future growth in this area to be modest, as penetration for audio subscribers settles at a saturation point.”
Spotify currently has the largest share of subscription revenue according to eMarketer, but the segment is highly competitive as Apple, Amazon, and Google continue to build out their audio businesses.
The analysis also shows a slight rebound in the share of digital audio revenuecoming from advertising. After bottoming out at 36.1% in 2022, eMarketer’s forecast says it will climb back up to 37.9% by 2025.
For podcasters launching subscription products, the share of digital audio revenue coming from that segment may be inching down but that does not mean more dollars overall will be up for grabs.
“Digital audio subscription revenue per paid subscriber will increase in future years, as subscribers come off promotional pricing deals and companies potentially increase subscription prices,” it said.