The podcast listening gap between Hispanics and the U.S. population overall closed significantly during the past year according to the Latino Podcast Listener Report 2021 from Edison Research. It finds that 36% of U.S. Latinos aged 18 and older report they had listened to a podcast during the past month. That is a 44% increase compared to a year ago when one in four Hispanics were monthly listeners. The study also finds 29% of Latinos listen to podcasts weekly.
Importantly, Edison says the gains came among both English-dominant and Spanish-dominant listeners as 59% said they had ever listened to a podcast. “A majority has now tried a podcast at one point in their life,” said Gabriel Soto, Director of Research at Edison Research. “We couldn’t say that last year, but because listening has increased, we can now say that this year. It’s a big milestone worth celebrating.”
The gains came even though fewer than half of people who mainly speak Spanish at home are familiar with the term “podcasting” which he notes is an English word. “There’s always going to be a language barrier to understand what podcasts means,” said Soto during a webinar Tuesday.
But Adonde Media CEO Martina Castro, whose company was one of those that commissioned the study, said she expects the podcast industry to soon get past the familiarity challenge as more people refer to content as a “show” rather than a podcast. “We hope the term podcasts will continue to gain traction, but we are finding ways to get around it and you’re going to see that happening in the coming years in Spanish-language audience,” said Castro.
One factor may have contributed to the changes seen in the most recent study: the COVID-19 pandemic. Over half (54%) of Latino monthly podcast listeners say they began listening to podcasts during the pandemic.
The number of U.S. Latinos reached daily by podcasts has increased dramatically since pre-pandemic times, with 21% of the U.S. Latino population being reached by podcasts each day, up from only 11% in the first quarter of 2020.
“It’s really interesting what a large percentage of the Spanish-language dominant group has come to the medium in just the last six months. This is just showing that this sector is still growing,” said Castro. Just as encouraging is the Edison data shows nearly all (96%) of Hispanics surveyed said they plan to continue listening to podcasts when the pandemic ends.
U.S. Latino podcast listeners are especially interested in video with their show as 74% said they listen to podcasts with a video component. And 41% said they would prefer consuming a podcast with audio and video, while actively watching the video.
“This gives us more of an idea of how people are listening to podcasts,” said Castro. “These are pretty high numbers and I think it’s worth considering that video is not an insignificant contributing factor.”
Latino podcast listeners also have unique listening habits and motivations. When they listen to podcasts at home, 49% are spending time with family and friends – more than double that of the overall 18+ population (22%). Thirty-eight percent of U.S. Latino podcast listeners listen to stay connected with their family’s country of origin.
The survey also found that 58% of U.S. Latino monthly podcasts listeners say they would be likely to pay a small fee to avoid hearing ads on the podcasts they listen. That includes a third who said they are “very likely” to consider paying a small monthly fee.
This is the second annual release of the report. The data is based on online interviews conducted among 2,500 U.S. Hispanic adults aged 18 and older in May 2021. The survey was offered in English and Spanish, and 17% of total respondents took the survey in Spanish. The results were weighted to the age/sex/country of origin of U.S. Hispanic/Latino population and The Infinite Dial 2021 podcast listening statistics.
Download a copy of the Latino Podcast Listener Report 2021HERE.