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New Podcast Consumer Study Focuses On Back Episode, First-Day Listening.


Findings from the latest in an ongoing series of studies among weekly podcast consumers show a significant amount of consumption taking place within 24 hours of a new episode’s release, and back episode listening strongest among women and longtime podcast listeners.


The study, the first of two conducted annually by Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights in conjunction with MARU/Matchbox, surveyed more than 600 respondents during April, covering many aspects of podcast listening behavior.


A key finding uncovered in the Podcast Download Report is that podcast consumption is undercounted due to co-listening that is occurring with friends, family, and children. 


“Since the dawn of podcast advertising, selling estimates based on downloads, listens, or views never contemplated a device utilized by multiple people,” Cumulus VP Lauren Vetrano says. “What we have uncovered is that there is actually a fair amount of co-listening to podcasts that takes place. Whether it be with kids, friends, or family, the podcast industry is leaving ears on the table. There is a richer consumption story to be told as it is not just one person per download. For agencies and media planners, being able to examine co-listening by genre or podcast can offer invaluable insights into reaching the true audience.”


According to an analysis in Westwood One’s weekly blog, half of weekly podcast consumers say they listen to new episodes of a favorite podcast within 24 hours of its release, while 21% say they do so immediately after its release, accounting for 71% of the sample. Among heavy consumers, defined as those listening to podcasts for six or more hours weekly, that share moves up to 80%, with 30% listening upon release.


“For many, there is an immediacy to podcast consumption,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says.


The study finds that nearly three-fourths (73%) of women go back to catch missed episodes of podcasts they usually listen to, compared to 62% of men and 67% of total weekly podcast listeners. Those numbers remain high for new podcast listening, with nearly two-thirds of women (64%) listening to back episodes, vs. 55% of men and 59% of weekly podcast consumers.


“Earlier in the year, the new iOS 17 software update changed how automatic downloads occurred,” Bouvard says. “While the improvement was a positive step for podcast advertisers and content creators, there was still fear surrounding lower download numbers.”


In terms of when consumers began to listen to podcasts, those most likely to listen to back episodes are “Podcast Pioneers,” or podcast listeners for four years or more, 62% of whom do so, vs. 59% of those who began listening two to three years ago (Podcast Intermediates), and 54% of whose having started listening in the past year (Podcast Newcomers).


For back listening of podcasts regularly consumed, 72% of Podcast Pioneers do so, vs. 61% of Podcast Newcomers and 62% of Podcast Intermediates.


Download a copy of 12th edition of the Podcast Download report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights HERE.

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