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In-Car Podcast Listening May Be Small, But Technology Is On Podcasting’s Side.

Music may be deemed “essential” to the driving experience – only 11% of people surveyed by DTS say it isn’t – but spoken word podcasts are carving out a role in the car. DTS says five percent of in-car audio listeners it surveyed said they listen to podcasts while driving. That may trail music’s 81% but podcasts have five-times the usage of audiobooks according to the survey.

Helping pave the way for podcasts in the vehicle is what else people are listening to. DTS says six percent of the in-car audio listeners it surveyed said they look for local news on the radio while driving, four percent listen to talk radio, while two percent consume sports talk programming.

Helping podcasts make inroads in the vehicle is the fact that technology linking their mobile phone with their dashboard continues to become more common. DTS says a majority 53% of the in-car audio listeners it surveyed reported they used Bluetooth while in their vehicle. And 14% also use Apple CarPlay, which would allow them to play the podcasts that are on their iPhone.

The report also shows that what is helping podcasting is also lifting streaming music listening levels in the car. DTS says nearly half (46%) of the in-car audio listeners it surveyed say they now listen to a streaming music service in their car. That is less than AM/FM radio, which is used by seven in ten in-car music listeners, but streaming music now tops satellite radio usage by nearly 20-points.

The information comes as consumers are holding onto their vehicles longer. Only 13% of those surveyed say they’re likely to give up their personal vehicles in the next few years.

“As the data makes clear, the importance of the personal vehicle to consumers is strong, music is what they are listening to while driving, and radio is where they source it,” a report on the study says.

The survey was conducted by DTS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi, which licenses digital radio technology. It says more than 95 million vehicles are now equipped with HD Radio with about 2,600 radio stations in the U.S. broadcasting in digital. The survey also showed 89% of consumers say they are happy with HD Radio.

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