On the heels of the New York Times morning news podcast The Daily marking three years atop Podtrac’s monthly ranker of the most listened-to podcasts among those it measures, the Pew Research Center’s latest data shows podcasting is making inroads. Roughly half of Americans say they get some news from podcasts and the number who pick it as a preferred media choice jumped by a third compared to a year ago.
“Today an overwhelming majority of Americans get news at least sometimes from digital devices,” says Pew in the latest update. It finds that more than eight in ten (84%) of Americans say they often or sometimes get news from a smartphone, computer or tablet, including 51% who say they do so often. “The portion who gets news from digital devices continues to outpace those who get news from television,” says Pew. The latest data shows eight percent “never” or “rarely” get their news from a digital device.
The added focus to smartphones and other digital devices has proven to be a boost for news-focused podcasts. The latest Pew data shows seven percent now often turn to podcasts for news, which is up a point from a year ago. And 37% of those surveyed either often or sometimes listen to podcasts for news.
“Though digital devices are by far the most common way Americans access their news, where they get that news on their devices is divided among a number of different pathways. Today, news websites, apps and search engines are the digital pathways most Americans get news from at least sometimes,” says Pew.
Among digital devices, Pew says the most preferred one for news is news websites or apps as nearly one in four (24%) of Americans say it’s their favorite way for getting news in the digital realm. That is down slightly compared to a year ago – search and social media were also down a bit – while podcasting is heading in the other direction. Pew says four percent of those surveyed prefer to get their news from podcasts. That is up 33% compared to a year ago.
Who are those people? A deeper dive into the Pew data shows those with a news podcast preference is slightly higher among men (5%) than women (3%) and among those with a college degree (5%) compared to those with high school or less (3%). And while Whites and Asians had a small edge compared to Blacks and Hispanics, the biggest differences were among age groups.
Pew says among those 18 to 29 years old, nine percent said they would prefer to get their news from podcasts. That compares to five percent among those 30 to 49 years old. And among older adults, podcasts for news have yet to catch on. Among adults 50 to 64, two percent said they prefer podcasts and among those aged 65 and older, just one percent said the same.
The Pew data is based on surveys of U.S. adults conducted July 26 to August 8, 2021 and August 31 to September 7, 2020. Read more about the methodology HERE.