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What Motivates Podcast Listening? Analysis Says It’s Not The Same As What Drives Radio Use.

All audio is not the same. At least in the eyes and ears of consumers who are using different formats at different times of the day and in different social settings. The new analysis from Audacy shows differences between audio formats in terms of how they're used by listeners, which commands the highest level of listener attention.

“The catch folks can fall into is considering audio as one big bucket. It’s not. Over-the-air radio, streaming audio and podcasts all have nuance that drive audience and listening habits in different ways,” Audacy Senior VP of Research and Insights Idil Cakim says. “In some cases, these different audio types overlap and serve our styles, interests and times of day in different ways.”

The latest in Audacy's Insights series, focuses on the differences beginning with the top listening occasions among users of each, where streaming and podcasts are first-and-foremost personal experiences.

“OTA fans wake up to their radio and they take it with them, while they’re on the go,” Cakim says, “[while] streamers, whether they’re tuning in to OTA or podcasts, carve out ‘me time’ for their audio favorites, choosing that alone time to listen.”

Whether audio programming is music-based or features news, talk or sports, podcast listeners index highest for engagement compared to over-the-air listeners or listeners as a whole. “It's not surprising that we give our full attention to all audio types,” Cakim says, “but regular podcast fans consistently show the most engagement, outperforming other audio types across formats.”

Breaking out audio listening among the 13-24 Gen Z age group, AM/FM (50%) and podcasts (21%) take up most of their time compared to Spotify (18%) and Pandora (6%). As to what drives younger listeners, Audacy cites a recent survey of teens and young adults which found that three-fourths of podcast users listen with the goal to learn something new, where the same number of users agree that “putting on a podcast while doing other things keeps me entertained.”

These differences, Audacy's report suggests, should figure into programming and advertising strategies.

“The key for advertisers is to understand the consumer mindset and set the perfect balance with their audio plans,” Cakim says. “Weave brands into daily moments in authentic ways and become part of listeners’ experiences. A single audio tactic may not do the trick. An integrated audio strategy is the best approach that will deliver on audience targeting and campaign goals.”

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