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Podcast Listeners Spending More Time With Medium As Digital Audio Usage Rises.

As digital audio consumption continues to grow, the latest forecast from eMarketer shows the amount of time spent listening to podcasts is benefiting. The research firm’s estimates reveal podcast listeners aged 18 and older are spending an average of 51 minutes per day consuming podcast content. That is up 6.9% compared to a year ago. And by 2025, eMarketer forecasts it will rise to 56 minutes per day.

Overall, the latest update also shows time spent per day listening to podcasts rising with eMarketer now estimating that the typical U.S. adult – including those who are not regular podcast listeners – will spend 23 minutes per day listening to a podcast. And by 2025, it expects that will climb to 27 minutes.

The gains for podcasting come as digital audio usage keeps climbing. Analysts at eMarketer estimate that the average adult digital audio user will spend one hour and 52 minutes per day with digital audio, a 2.6% growth rate year-to-year. That figure is forecast to increase to one hour and 55 minutes by 2025.

“Nearly three-quarters of U.S. internet users regularly listen to digital audio, and most of them spend a considerable amount of time every day doing so,” the firm’s U.S. Digital Audio Forecast Overview says. “This year, more consumers will spend more money and time with more platforms than ever before, but very few metrics are growing as quickly as they once were.”

Analysts call digital audio the “leader of the second tier” since Americans spend far more time watching television and digital video than consuming any other media format. “But digital audio is out in front among the secondary ways to spend time with media,” eMarketer says. “Digital audio is also a common choice for multitasking, with passive listening a substantial part of the medium’s time spent figures.”

As more digital audio consumption occurs, eMarketer says digital audio is “bearing down” on traditional radio’s size. By next year, it predicts broadcast radio’s lead will shrink to 16 million. In the meantime, about two-thirds of the U.S. population will be digital audio listeners this year, including nearly 75% of internet users. “Digital audio listening has become one of the most popular media-related activities in the country,” it says.

But the report does note there is “dwindling headroom” for growth. “U.S. adults have increased their daily time with digital audio by leaps and bounds, averaging double-digit annual growth rates throughout the last decade. However, time spent will only tick up by a couple of minutes per year going forward,” its report says.

By 2024, a fifth of all time spent with digital media in the U.S. will go to digital audio despite slowing growth in minutes per day. “Digital audio listenership is so massive that a growth plateau was inevitable,” the report says.

As the growth rate for digital audio slows, traditional radio endures, and that means AM/FM will likely remain the leading audio format for the foreseeable future. “It’s uncertain when digital might exceed terrestrial,” the forecast says.

Beyond just audio, eMarketer says U.S. adults now spend three more hours a day with digital media than traditional – 7 hours and 34 minutes for digital versus four hours and 37 minutes for traditional. It projects the gap will widen over the coming years as digital’s share closes in on eight hours of time spent per day by 2025.

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