Media consumption habits during the past two months have been a lot like a snow globe that has been shaken pretty severely, says Edison Research Senior VP Tom Webster, with commutes coming to an end and homeschooling becoming commonplace. “Initially there was incredible disruption in unpredictable ways, but the flakes are settling a bit,” said Webster during a virtual roundtable on Wednesday. The data from Edison’s quarterly Podcasts Consumer Tracker is offering a near real-time look at the impact on podcast listening, and the news is encouraging.
Edison says weekly podcast listeners spent about 6.5 hours a week during March listening to podcasts, roughly the same as what it found in January before the coronavirus lockdowns changed everyday life. “I think a lot of people early-on assumed it would increase listening to podcasting if we are all staying at home. And in some cases that is true,” Webster said. “Things have shifted around a little bit, but overall the reach has remained and the number of hours that humans are listening to podcasts – though they are redistributed a bit – hasn’t really changed that much.”
There is, however, a clear winner during the coronavirus crisis in terms of the genre of podcasts getting a lift in Edison’s data which is collected continuously through each quarter. “There was a huge boost in news podcasts,” said Webster.
Between January and March, the News category showed a 25% jump in the number of podcast listeners who said they’d consumed at least one News show.