Shift To At-Home Podcast Listening Appears To Be Holding As Pandemic’s Impact Fades.

Some indications on what post-pandemic podcast listening may look like are coming from Signal Hill Insights, by way of Canada. It is working on the annual Canadian Podcast Listener study there for The Podcast Exchange and while the pandemic is certainly not over in either country, some survey data from October offers a read on what has been the closest to normal seen on either side of the border in a long time.

Signal Hill founder Jeff Vidler says the shift to at-home listening it picked up on during the COVID lockdowns is holding. On average, the proportion of reported podcast listening at home jumped from 60% to 68% last year among Canadians. That held steady at 68% last month even as more things open.

That supports a similar finding released by Futuri earlier this week. Its analysis of Nielsen data in the U.S. found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of on-demand broadcast audio consumption took place at home versus 37% for out-of-home listening. Futuri Senior VP Zena Burns says it is likely based on more people working from home, more people turning to smart speakers, and a rise in audio consumption overall.

“The data revealed that the majority of on demand broadcast audio listening, almost two-thirds took place at home versus out-of-home as measured over the entire 21-month research period,” said Burns on a webinar Thursday. “This didn't change when stay at home orders were lifted. The trend continues, the behavior has changed, the habits are set – that's really major.”

Vidler says in a blog post that in a related development, the shift of podcast listening to smartphones has apparently stalled. He says after it grew from 66% to 70% of time spent listening to podcasts in 2020, mobile device listening among Canadians slipped back to 69% this year. Vidler says smart speakers picked up the slack, moving from a three percent share of listening to a “still tiny” four percent share of all listening.

Something that is also changing is the amount of time Canadians listen to podcasts as the pandemic fades. The latest data shows monthly podcast listening was up two percent in October compared to a year earlier. Vidler says weekly podcast listening was up even more, rising from 18% to 21% among Canadian adults.

The survey also shows the average time spent listening to podcasts among weekly listeners keeps growing, now up to an average of 6.5 hours a week. And weekly listeners are also consuming more episodes each week. Vidler notes the number has increased by more than one episode a week since 2019.

Results are based on online surveys using a market representative sample of more than 4,500 Canadian adults from Maru Voice Canada. Signal Hill Insights and The Podcast Exchange will release the full Canadian Podcast Listener report at the end of November.

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