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Podcast Listening Time Jumps As More Listeners Are Now Tuning In Weekly.

Podcast listening time slipped slightly as the pandemic lockdowns faded, but Edison Research data showing how mainstream podcast listening has become has now overshadowed any dip that may have been recorded during the past few years. The latest Infinite Dial report finds the average podcast listener aged 12 and older spent more than nine hours listening to a podcast during the typical week. That is double the roughly four and a half hours of weekly podcast listening time recorded in 2015.

The average of 9 hours and 3 minutes per week may sound impressive on its own considering all the other media choices that Americans have today. But Edison’s data shows that three in ten people it surveyed reported they actually listen to podcasts for ten or more hours each week. That is led by Gen Z and Millennials. Edison says among 12 to 34 year old weekly podcast listeners, a third (34%) say they listen to podcasts for ten or more hours each week. That compares to one in five weekly podcast listeners aged 55 and older who dedicate that much time to the audio format. That older demo is twice as likely to spend less than an hour each week with podcasts compared to weekly podcast listeners overall.

A big reason for the increase in the amount of listening time is the rise in the number of podcast listeners that now use the medium on a weekly basis. Edison’s latest Infinite Dial report shows three-quarters (74%) of podcast listeners are now weekly listeners. After several years of holding fairly steady, that reflects a six percent jump in the past year as more monthly podcast listeners morphed into weekly podcast listeners. During the depth of the pandemic three years ago, Edison data showed the number of weekly podcast listeners was nine points lower – partly because more casual listeners sampled the medium. Yet the long-term story is unsurprisingly one of growth as the number of weekly podcast listeners is today nearly a third higher than it was a decade ago based on Infinite Dial data.

As weekly podcast listening has gained traction, it is not just because people are listening to the same number of shows spread out through the month. Instead, the number of shows people are listening to has also increased. Edison’s latest research finds the typical weekly podcast listener reports they consumed nine podcasts during the week. That is one more than the eight podcasts that weekly listeners said they heard a year ago.

Edison says a quarter (24%) of weekly podcast listeners say they have heard six to ten podcast episodes during the prior seven-day period. That compares to 16% of weekly podcast listeners who said they listened to that number of episodes last year. In other words, not only is the number of people listening to podcasts on a weekly basis growing, but those listeners report they are also listening to more episodes.

Edison reported this month that after a one-year “pause” in listening gains, growth had returned to the medium. Podcasting increased its monthly reach to 42% of Americans ages 12+ after declining to 38% last year. In 2023, the overwhelming majority of Americans (83%) know what a podcast is — about 237 million people. In 2023, 64% said they’ve listened to a podcast. That’s an estimated 183 million people. The good news for the podcast industry is that weekly podcast listening numbers rose sharply in 2023 to 31% of the 12+ population. That means almost one third of the U.S. (an estimated 89 million people) are now weekly podcast consumers.

The gains are driven in part by gains in ethnic listening. Edison says even as a majority of podcast listeners are White, there have been gains among other ethnic groups. It says 45% of African Americans say they had listened to a podcast during the past month, while 34% of Hispanics said the same.

It is not just the racial makeup that is evolving. The podcasting gender gap has also closed somewhat. Edison’s latest data shows that 53% of podcast listeners are men versus 46% women. That compares to a 61% to 39% gender split recorded a decade ago.

The expanded report on podcasting from data collected as part of Edison’s annual Infinite Dial report was released last week at the Podcast Movement conference.

Download a copy of the Podcast Consumer 2023 report HERE.

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