Hetal Patel, iHeartMedia’s Executive VP of SmartAudio Intelligence, wants it to be known: The media narrative that podcasting’s best days are behind it couldn’t be more inaccurate. “I don’t understand this, like how are people talking about podcasting is not growing?” she says in an interview with MarTech. Patel says across every demographic from young to old, daily podcast reach is growing double-digits.
Earlier this month, iHeartMedia released its State of Podcasting report which showed that daily podcast reach is accelerating across every age group, as the medium’s reach hit an all-time high in 2023. In fact, there are now more weekly podcast listeners in the U.S. than subscribers to Netflix.
As detailed in the report, Edison Research data shows more than four in ten (43%) Americans aged 25 to 34 listen to podcasts on a daily basis, the most of any age group. But the numbers are rising across nearly every age group with roughly one-third of Persons 35 to 44 and 13 to 24 reporting they listen to a podcast each day.
Helping grow those numbers are the changing listening habits of Blacks and Hispanics. Between 2020 and 2022, Edison says the monthly reach of podcasting among African Americans has jumped 26% with more than four in ten (43%) of Blacks listening to podcasts each month.
The jump is even bigger among Hispanics. Their podcast listening has risen by 36% with just over a third consuming podcasts each month.
There is also a revenue growth story to be told. The Internet Advertising Bureau said last week that podcast ad revenue grew 26% last year and will climb another 25% this year. Patel credits work the podcast industry has done to make its product more brand-safe while also improving measurement to go beyond just basis demographics like age and location to buying audiences by psychographics. “In the last two years alone, we’ve made so much progress to get so much more deterministic about who you are reaching,” Patel told MarTech.
The iHeartMedia podcasting report also showed that Americans are making more time for podcasts mostly by reducing time with streaming video/music and social media. In fact, half of those surveyed said they were spending less time with YouTube in order to spend more time with podcasts. That is twice as many as those who say they are shifting time away from broadcast radio for on-demand audio.