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Podcasting Is Still Growing Its Reach With Gains Across All Age Groups, Edison Report Finds.


Nearly one of every five minutes of time spent listening to ad-supported audio went to a podcast during the first quarter of the year. That is according to Edison Research’s Share of Ear report, which finds a 17% share for podcasts. That is second only to AM/FM radio, which still has more than four-times the share of podcasting among adults aged 18 and older.


But the gap is smaller among adults in the key 25- to 54-year-old age group that advertisers are most focused on. While Edison says podcasts are still second, broadcast radio’s lead is half as large. Edison says during the first quarter, 21% of ad-supported audio time in that age group went to podcasting versus 52% for broadcast radio. That is up from a five percent share of ad-supported audio for podcasting during the first quarter of 2017.


“The big mover on the ranker is podcasting,” said Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at the Cumulus Media and Westwood One. “Podcast audiences have grown dramatically,” he said in a video detailing the Edison findings.


Driving radio’s lead is its continued dominance in the car. Edison says AM/FM had an 87% share for ad-supported time spent in the car versus just six percent for podcasts.


“AM/FM continues to be the queen of the road,” Bouvard said. “It has been incredibly consistent over the last six years.”


Broadcast radio has benefited from growing digital streaming consumption. Streaming now accounts for 20% of all AM/FM radio listening among 25- to 54-year-olds and 28% for 25- to 54-year-old men. That is up from 15% and 19%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2022. But Bouvard says it is podcast audiences that have “exploded” during the past few years. Before 2020, he says growth in listening was gradual, but since then podcast audience growth has gone into “hyper drive” and podcasts now have an 8.9 share of overall audio and a 17 share of all U.S. ad-supported audio among adults aged 18 and older.


Podcasting’s reach is strongest among 18- to 49-year-olds with a third (34%) saying they listen to a podcast on a daily basis. That is up four-fold since 2016. But Bouvard points out that gains have been made across the board. “Podcasting now has the scale that a lot of marketers said it lacked a few years ago – there is reach to be found in podcasting,” he said.


But the gains for podcasting are not limited to young adults. Bouvard says it is a case of the older the demo, the greater the growth. Adults 45-54 have seen the biggest change from 2017 to 2022 (+633%) while adults 55+ saw over 500% growth. “Podcasts may be perceived as a younger person’s medium, but all age demos are increasing,” he writes in a blog post.


According to the Edison Research Share of Ear data, a podcast push has resulted in a change in the types of content people are using the Spotify app for. Today, Edison says 20% of Spotify listening time goes to spoken word content. That compares to just 2.2% in 2017.

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