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Podcasts Now Make Up A Quarter Of All Listening Time On Smart Speakers.

Edison Research's just-released “Share of Ear” report for fourth quarter 2021 shows podcasting held an 11% share of listening to ad-supported media. That is roughly on par with the 10% share it had a year earlier and up 83% from its single-digit share recorded at the end of 2019.

“Podcasting is now bigger than the combination of ad-supported Pandora and Spotify put together, who only get about a nine share,” said Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard.

Podcasting continues to hold the second-largest share of listening time among ad-supported media according to Edison. Broadcast AM/FM radio has the biggest, and the slow emergence from the pandemic likely helped that audio platform. “AM/FM radio is basically pandemic-proof,” Bouvard said in a video briefing detailing their analysis.

The numbers show radio’s share of ad-supported listening time rose to 76% at the end of the year, up two points from a year earlier. It is still below AM/FM’s 79% share recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Digging deeper into the various age groups, Edison Research says podcasting’s share of time spent with ad-supported audio is significantly larger among young age groups. It says 21% of audio time of adults aged 18 to 34 is spent with podcasts. And 17% of audio time spent by 18 to 49 year olds is with podcasts. Podcasts also have slightly larger shares with the key advertiser demo of adults aged 25 to 54, where the medium captures a 13% share of listening time.

Edison’s data shows that among the younger age groups the share for ad-supported Pandora and Spotify is largely the same, along with the ad-supported channels on SiriusXM. Where the podcast listening time comes from is broadcast radio. The lowest is among 18 to 34 year olds, who nevertheless give a majority 59% of their listening time to AM/FM radio.

Bouvard’s analysis of the Edison data shows podcasting’s share of in-car listening time remains small – ranging four to eight percent depending on age group – but he notes it is growing. It is also “trouncing” ad supported streaming, Bouvard points out with the data showing podcast has a share of listening time at least twice as big as the ad-supported versions of Spotify and Pandora.

“Podcasting is growing. It is starting to show some strength among some of the younger demos in-car, but it is still dwarfed by AM/FM radio in the car,” said Bouvard. Edison says even among 18-34 year olds, broadcast radio has an 84% share of in-car listening when it comes to ad-supported media options.

When it comes to smart speakers, most podcasters say that a small number of downloads go to those devices. But in terms of what smart speaker owners are listening to, Edison’s numbers point to a promising outlet longer-term.

The latest numbers show that a quarter (26%) of smart speaker listening time to ad-supported media goes to podcasts. That compares to a 43% share for AM/FM radio. As more podcasting is done in social settings – something Edison has previously reported Black and Hispanic consumers are more likely to do – the medium’s share of the smart speaker listening hours could grow even larger.

The Share of Ear data also showed that podcasting tends to have a larger share in bigger cities than in smaller ones. Among the top 25 cities, podcasting had a 12% share versus a 7% share for cities outside the top 100 biggest.

Download the Cumulus Media-Westwood One Audio Active Group analysis of Edison Research's "Share of Ear” data HERE.

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