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Podcast’s ‘Share Of Ear’ Continues To Grow, Especially With Younger Listeners.

Podcasting continues to capture a growing share of audio listening time according to Edison Research. Its latest Share of Ear report finds podcasting accounts for 12% of listening time to ad-supported media during the fourth quarter. That’s up one point from the start of last year, and it is a 71% increase from the seven percent share of listening time that podcasting received at the start of 2020.

Edison says podcasting has made even greater inroads with younger listeners. Among both Gen Z and Millennials, podcasting had a 15% share of their listening to ad supported audio during the fourth quarter. The medium trails among those aged 55 and older however, where podcasting’s six percent share is half what the listening level is overall.

Broadcast radio still has the edge among ad-supported audio formats, but its lead is shrinking – especially among the youngest age group. Overall, AM/FM has a 59% share, but among 13 to 24 year olds it has just a two point lead on YouTube.

As podcasting has grown, Edison’s data highlights the rise of digital audio listening overall. YouTube now captures a 15% share of ear for ad-supported audio listening across all age groups, but its share is double that among 13 to 24 years olds. And while podcasting leads streaming audio services overall, among Gen Zs the streaming music format had a 20% share of listening during the fourth quarter.

There’s also the element of what kind of audio it is. Edison VP Megan Lazovick says the data looks only at the ad-supported universe, which is very different from overall audio consumption that includes subscription services such as Premium Spotify and Pandora Premium. When those are considered, she says the streaming time spent is 22% and the podcast time spent is 10%.

Breaking out the ad-supported part of audio listening, and excluding paid subscription-based listening, yields some surprising results. For example, Gen Z audio consumers, well-known to favor their mobile phones for audio consumption, spend a third of their ad-supported audio time on a daily basis with AM/FM radio. When considering only ad-supported audio, the next closest platform for Gen Z is YouTube, which is where they spend 31% of their daily audio time.

The data shows AM/FM radio also does well among the 25-54 year old age group that advertisers care about the most. They spend more than half of their daily audio time (55%) with AM/FM radio (including over-the-air and streams), and Americans 55+ spend the overwhelming majority of their ad-supported audio time (78%) with AM/FM radio.

The quarterly Share of Ear reports are based on a rolling four-quarter national diary-based survey of 4,000 Americans aged 13 and older. Participants keep a detailed daily diary of audio usage, recording their listening throughout the day in 15-minute increments. The diary asks not only what platform they used, but the content consumed, and where they were located. Edison has conducted Share of Ear studies since 2014.

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