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The Four Takeaways You Need To Know From Infinite Dial.


Last week’s reveal of the 2024 edition of Infinite Dial was a dizzying swirl of data and trends, most of which underscored the ongoing growth of digital audio. To help make sense of all the facts and figures, Edison Research founder and President Larry Rosin and Audacy Head of Research & Insights Idil Cakim boiled down the main findings, put them in the context of an annual study that dates back to 1998, and provided clues and provided clues about how these trends might move in the near future. Following are four key takeaways from a Wednesday webinar hosted by Rosin and Cakim.


Podcast listening is soaring, hitting nearly 100 million Americans weekly


Rosin: “This is such an important milestone that speaks to how podcasting has become a mainstream channel for so many people in terms of information, entertainment, and companionship… I'd be surprised if we're at the peak of what this is going to be since new people seem to continue to discover it every day. I think there's a good shot that this number will be fully within the nine figure range come next year.”


Cakim: “It’s such a unique and attentive audience and now we finally have scale. We found last year that 80% of weekly listeners will listen through a podcast ad, as part of the episode… And they follow up on the word of the host. So it's a highly effective medium for not just communicating the brand pillars, the brand values and the key message, but for driving people through to purchase.”


Podcast listening grew faster among women, nearly eliminating the gap in listening vs. men


Cakim: “This this was a remarkable thing to notice. On average, female podcast listeners have listened through 10 episodes a week, whereas men average around seven. So the increase in listenership perhaps is being driven by women.”


Rosin: “We've been tracking this for many, many years and I've been saying consistently, since the beginning, that more men were listening to podcasts than women. And that's still the case this year. But the male number went up a little bit, and the female number went up a lot. And so while there's still a gap, it’s now a very tight gap. And among that group of women, they tell us that they listen to more podcast episodes on average each week than men. So in total, the number of episodes is actually a little higher for women, than for men, even though the base of numbers is a little bit higher for men than for women… I think there's a decent likelihood that these numbers might equalize within a year or two.”


Online audio is on a surge: More than two-thirds of all Americans age 12 and older are now streaming audio each week, breaking existing records.


Cakim: “It's a formidable 200 million-plus people who are listening to AM/FM radio stations digitally, or streaming some form of audio content that's not otherwise available. That's speaking to what a legitimate, sizable medium this has become.”


Rosin: “About the time that smartphones were being adopted in a vast clip in the early part of the last decade, you can see how quickly these numbers rose. And now it's a fully mainstream activity. People are streaming radio stations and pureplays and they understand this mechanism for consuming content in ways that, not that long ago, they didn't necessarily do too often.”


Cakim: “There’s this incredible surge in cross-platform listenership, which means you were radio first and now you're carrying over some of your listening to streaming platforms. You're listening to some content on radio, some content on streaming. This behavior has increased by about 66% in the past two years. And I think the magnanimous number that we're looking at here speaks to that behavior that people are following their content.”


Device trends are making headlines: With many smart speaker households now averaging 3 devices per home.


Rosin: “More than a third of all households now have smart speakers in them. And if you have one, the likelihood of having more than one has increased every single year. And that does speak to how much people like them, how much people are using them once they do acquire one. And nearly half of those who have one have three or more. How consistently it's grown has typically surprised me on a year-to-year basis – it keeps going up.”

 

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