Digital Media Use Is Growing, And That’s Helping Push Up Podcast Listening Time.


It is not just podcasting’s reach and ad revenue that are going up. So is the amount of time each day that people are spending listening to podcasts. Analysts at eMarketer estimate users will listen to just under 20 minutes per day consuming podcasts, a 22% increase compared to the roughly 16 minutes per day spent during 2020. And eMarketer forecasts the average time spent per day with podcasts will top 25 minutes by 2023 as growth remains in double-digits.


The rise in podcast consumption comes as analysts at eMarketer estimate Americans will spend on average 60.5% of their total media time with digital media this year. That compares to 49% of media time going to digital five years ago. And analysts project by 2023 roughly 64% of media time will be going to digital as traditional media’s grip loosens. The firm says U.S. adults will spend 13 hours and 12 minutes per day with media in 2021.


“In 2020, U.S. adults increased their time spent with media by nearly an hour per day –58 minutes – to a new high average,” said eMarketer senior analyst Audrey Schomer in a blog post. “Last year, time spent with most media formats and devices grew, with digital media specifically seeing huge gains,” it said. Some traditional media formats did benefit from more people at home however, as television and print newspapers saw growth for the first time in years.


According to eMarketer's just-released 2021 U.S. study of time spent with media, the research company's forecast for broadcast radio shows a fairly steady average of nearly an hour and a half of listening per day from now through 2023. While pandemic-related issues, such as less in-car listening and more working at home, knocked down that daily average by seven minutes from 2019 to 2020, the predicted year-to-year difference from 2021 to 2023 is closer to 40 to 50 seconds less per year.


Analysts predict most of the increases in daily media usage “will stick” in 2021.


“Smartphones will continue to dominate time spent with digital media on any device, adding to 2020 gains,” said Schomer. “Podcasts and subscription OTT video services will also add to their 2020 usage increases.”

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