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Podcasts Now Claim Nearly Half Of Time Spent With Talk/Personality Audio.


Over the past five years, podcasts' share of time spent with talk/personality audio content has more than doubled among persons 18+, nearly doubled among those aged 25-54, and tripled among 35-64s, according to Edison Research's latest “Share of Ear” study, as reported in Cumulus Media's recently-released 2023 Audioscape report.


Edison's “Share of Ear,” which quantifies time spent with four types of audio – music, news, sports, and talk/personality – shows, when comparing fourth-quarter 2017 to Q4 2022, podcasts' share of audio time spent in the talk/personality genre soared from 23% to 49% among 18+. That share moved from 28% to 55% for persons 25-54, and 15% to 46% for 35-64. As the analysis of the Audioscape data in Westwood One's weekly blog notes, the older the demographic, the greater the podcast growth rate as the platform for talk/personality.


As for persons 18-34, among whom podcasts had already claimed half of talk/personality audio time spent five years ago, that share now stands at 68%.


“In the 1970s, it took FM ten years to grow from a 20% share of radio listening to a 50% share,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Insights Manager Liz Mayer says. “Podcasts have nearly secured a 50% share among persons 18+ of personality/talk time spent in half the time.”


Cumulus' report also shows how podcast listeners not only skew significantly younger but are also more engaged with audio. Compared to the U.S. average daily time spent of 4 hours and 17 minutes, podcast listeners spent 38% more time with audio daily, at 5 hours and 54 minutes. Since 2019, podcast listeners' median age has moved back and forth between 33 and 34, while that of AM/FM listeners is currently at 46, and linear TV's at 59.


According to Nielsen Scarborough’s Podcast Buying Power report, also cited in Audioscape, podcast listeners are 45% more likely than the total U.S. population to have graduated college and 50% more likely to have a post-graduate degree. They are also 29% more likely to be full-time employed, 39% more likely to have a white-collar occupation, and 36% more likely to have a $100k+ household income. 70% of podcast listening occurs at home, with 31% from 10am-3pm, followed by 6-10am.


Nielsen Scarborough’s Podcast Recontact Study shows listening most heavily concentrated in the top 10 markets, with 36% of listeners vs. 31% of the U.S. population. Conversely, only 24% of podcast listeners come from markets 51+, vs. also 31% of the U.S., suggesting growth opportunities outside of the top 50. The highest-indexing markets for podcast listening tend to coastal DMAs and tech hubs, with Salt Lake City, Denver, Austin and San Francisco leading the pack.


As for the top podcast listening platforms, according to Edison, Spotify and YouTube remain neck-and-neck, with 24% and 23% of tuning minutes, while Apple places third at 18%. These three, combining to make up more than two-thirds of tuning, rank far ahead of other platforms, followed by iHeartRadio, Amazon Music and Pandora, tied at 5% each.


“While AM/FM radio dominates the audio landscape with mass reach and significant time spent, podcasts and smart speakers are fast growing platforms representing engaging environments for brands,” Mayer says.


Cumulus Media's Audioscape study is available for downloading HERE.

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