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Total Audio Listening Is Up Among Internet Users As Podcasts Outpace Overall Growth Rate.

Total audio listening is up where it counts, among internet users, according to just-released findings from Insider Intelligence/eMarketer's 2022 Global Media Intelligence Report.

Comparing the first half of 2022 to that of 2021, average daily time spent by U.S. internet users with all audio formats – including radio, podcasts, music streaming and audiobooks – grew 10%, to a total four hours and five minutes.

Podcast grew even more with a 12% jump in the average daily time spent with podcasts to nearly one hour. The typical person spent 58-minutes with podcasts each day, up from 52-minutes a year ago.

Podcasting is not far behind AM/FM radio at this point. The report says broadcast radio did pick up four minutes in its average, rising to one hour and 11 minutes of listening in a typical day. The change is likely due to an increase in at-work listening, with a return to commuting and office work post-COVID.

The study is conducted in collaboration with GWI, which surveys 25,000 U.S. internet users ages 16 to 64 on a quarterly basis, along with similar research in seven other regions of the world. For U.S. listeners, the results show that between broadcast radio and podcasts, average daily time spent gained 10 minutes.

Taking a longer view, podcast listening time is up 20.8% since 2020, while music streaming has gained 27.5% from three years ago, reaching a near-two-hours daily average (1:56) during the first half of 2022.

Digital audio listening among the U.S. sample is up across the board, moving from 71.9% penetration during the first-half of 2021 to 78.5% in the first half of this year. The growth is especially notable in the 16-24 segment, where those reporting having listened to, streamed, downloaded or accessed music, radio or audiobook content in any other way in the past month went from 84.1% to 91.1%. There's also key growth in the high-income segment, with digital audio listening up from 74.9% to 83.5%.

Insider Intelligence/eMarketer's report also focuses on the growth of mobile (as in non-voice smartphone use) in the U.S., with daily time spent on mobile devices up 39.2% from three years ago and 8.9% from H1 2021, while time spent with PC/tablet devices has fallen 10.3% since 2019.

“Mobile media consumption continues to displace viewership and listenership in traditional channels,” the report says. “Content consumption is becoming more mobile because of emerging mobile platforms that encourage high engagement. Smart device adoption is accelerating as internet-connected peripherals become the norm. Smartphones are ubiquitous, smart TVs are more common than standalone TVs, and smart wearables like watches and wristbands have become mainstream.”

Traditional radio is holding its own. The report says the share of internet users having listened to AM/FM radio in the past seven or past 30 days places a strong second to reported TV viewing, overall at 77.4% vs. TV's 88.6%. Listening remains important to internet users age 16-24 with radio use at 64.1%, while 25-34 listening stands at 75.2%. As seen in other data, radio's attraction to upscale consumers also stands out in GWI's findings, with 80.2% of high- and 80.6% of medium annual household income internet users listening.

As for the current state of the Metaverse, the study shows just 8.6% of respondents owning a virtual reality (VR) headset, with younger participants between ages 16 and 44 showing slightly higher adoption rates.

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