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Study Looks At Kids Listening To Podcasts.

Podcasting may be growing by leaps and bounds among adults, but the next generation of listeners is already cuing up. New research finds children aged 6-12 are not only aware of podcasts, but a sizable number are already making them part of their media diet. The inaugural Kids Podcast Listener Report from Edison Research shows nearly two-thirds of 6–12-year-olds are aware of podcasts and among this age group 46% have already listened to an episode. The report shows 23% have listened in the past week.

“That indicates that listening to podcasts has become a regular habit among almost a quarter of kids this age – that is so incredible,” said Kids Listen cofounder Lindsay Patterson. “That means that podcasts have really become a way to connect with kids that we can't ignore,” she said during a presentation Thursday of the findings.

Podcasting may be growing, but the data shows it still trails 6–12-year-old consumption of broadcast radio. Two thirds (66%) said they had listened to radio in the past month compared to 29% that had listened to a podcast. And in a hint of where things are heading, among this age group the biggest format was online audio which had a six-point advantage on radio.

“What this really says is that podcasting has already found a strong foundation and it's got a lot of room to grow,” Kids Listen cofounder Sanden Totten said.

One of the driving factors for kid listening rests with the parents. The data shows among those whose parents listen to podcasts, 42% say they had listened to an episode in the past month – which is 13 points higher than listening levels overall.

“If you have parents who are podcast listeners, their kids are very likely to pick up the habit of podcast listening,” Patterson said.

As any parent can testify, kids don’t have the attention span of adults. Nevertheless, the data suggests kids are engaged listeners. Six in ten (59%) of 6-12s say they listen to podcasts that they consider fun, while over half said they liked to listen since they could do other things at the same time. That is no different than adults, Totten pointed out, although this group might be multitasking with Legos, dolls or dinosaurs, instead of laundry, dishes and dusting for adults.

“How else do we know kids are engaged listeners? Well, their parents say so. 72% of parents of podcast listeners agree that their kids are excited to listen to podcasts,” added Patterson. The data shows kids are also likely to look to connect with the podcast host as 44% said the host is the reason they listen while 37% say they like to learn new things.

Yet just like adults, it is the content that matters most and among 6-12s the topic that generated the most listening is gaming with a majority 51% finding an episode on that topic in the past month. Totten says that is not much of a surprise to him. “This is the Roblox Minecraft generation – half of them they want to hear about this world of gaming that they're already happening on other mediums,” he said. Music ranked second (39%) followed by comedy short stories (39%).

With mom and dad the ultimate influencer in what 6-12s listen to, Edison says the home is the place where most listening happens with 89% of kids saying they listen there. But parents are also using podcasts as an in-car entertainment option with about two-thirds (68%) of kids saying they’ve listened in the vehicle. Three in ten (29%) have listened at school.

“Car rides for kids and parents can be rough but can also be a great opportunity for bonding over a shared experience,” Edison VP Megan Lazovick said.

Based on those findings, it is little surprise that parents were the person that kids were most likely to have listened to a podcast with. Edison says 68% have listened with a parent, 54% have listened with a sibling and 39% have listened with a friend.

The report also looked at why kids who are aware of podcasts don’t listen. Nine percent of their parents said they just don’t have time. And yet six in ten percent say their kids might be interested in podcasts if they easily fit into their kids’ daily routine.

“Let's face it, some kids have jam packed schedules,” Lazovick said. “But if these parents were aware of kid podcasts that were short enough to hear during car rides to soccer practice, or relaxing enough to hear before bedtime, perhaps they'd be more likely to squeeze in some listening. Or perhaps parents and kids can get in the habit of swapping some screening time for podcast time.”

Edison says one in five parents think their kids just haven’t found something they enjoy listening to, with nearly as many moms and dads agreeing there aren’t enough kid-targeted shows. And 13% said it's hard to find a podcast that the whole family can enjoy together.

Totten points out that discovery is a hurdle for podcast fans of any age but says 6-12s may have an advantage.

“We're not starting with a completely blank slate. Many of the parents of these kids who aren't listening to podcasts are podcast listeners themselves,” he said. “So perhaps the key to boosting this discovery among kids is to reach the parents who we know are already familiar or engaged with podcasts themselves.”

What might get them listening more are shows around their favorite TV programs or movies.

“By incorporating the other media that kids like, and creating shows based on popular entertainment 79% of parents of non-listeners said their kids would be interested in podcasts,” Patterson said. She said that is something a lot of podcasters are already doing. “This indicates that there's lots of ways that kids can be brought in as new listeners and reinforces the need for education for parents just pointing out what's already there and what podcasts are doing,” she said.

About half (48%) of parents said their kids don’t listen because they prefer visual media over audio.

The Kids Podcast Listener Report is based on data from a trio of sources including a June national online survey of 1,272 U.S. parents of kids ages 6-12, a national online survey of kid monthly podcast listeners ages 6-12 that was administered by their parents, and in-home interviews with parents and their children.

Download the full report HERE.

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