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Thanks To COVID, Middays Remain Podcasting’s Biggest Daypart.

Podcasts continue to have a home field advantage among the medium’s fans. Edison Research’s latest Share of Ear data shows that among people who listen to podcasts, the medium continues to have the largest share of audio time spent. During the third quarter of 2020 that resulted in podcasting having a 30% share of podcast listeners’ audio time spent. The data – which was made public by Westwood One – shows podcasts outpace the usual top performer of AM/FM by eight points among podcast listeners.

“Over the last five years, these ratios have held very consistent. In 2015, among podcast listeners, podcasts had a 29% share and AM/FM radio had a 20% share,” said Brittany Faison, Insights Manager at Westwood One. “Once people become regular podcast consumers, nearly one-third of their total daily time spent with audio is devoted to podcasts,” she wrote in a blog post.

Nearly a year since the COVID-19 began changing how Americans live and work, the pandemic’s impact on listening location continues to be minimal. Podcasting has long been a mostly at-home medium. Edison’s quarterly data update says that during third quarter 2020, 60% of all podcast listening occurred at home. That is up only two points from the same period in 2018. In-car listening ranked second at 21%, while at-work listening accounting for 15% of podcast consumption according to Share of Ear data.

Yet with many people no longer having a commute to and from work, the biggest time period for podcast listening during the third quarter was middays. That is when a third of all podcast consumption happened. Morning commute (6-10am) ranked second, accounting for 22% of podcast listening. Afternoon drive time (3-7pm) ranked third at 21%.

For radio stations, podcasting offers a way to reach an audience that their broadcast stations may be overshooting. The median age of the podcast audience is 34, according to Edison. That is 13 years less than the average age for AM/FM radio listeners. And it is 20 years younger than the average viewer of the big three broadcast television networks.

“Podcasting is an ideal medium for advertisers seeking an engaged and younger audience,” said Faison, who pointed out that during the past two years the median age of podcast listeners has continuously hovered in the mid-30s even as podcasting has gone mainstream and more Americans of all ages and demographic groups embraced the format.

The Edison data also shows podcast listeners continued to outperform other Americans when it comes to audio listening overall. The average U.S. consumer spends three hours and forty-two minutes a day with all forms of audio. Podcast listeners spend 41% more time with audio – or five hours and twelve minutes per day. That was five percent more than the difference recorded during the same period a year ago.

“Audio is a huge part of life for Americans,” said Faison.While AM/FM radio dominates the audio landscape with mass reach and significant time spent, podcasting is an area that has been experiencing significant adoption growth.”

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