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Who's Driving Spoken Word's Growth? Only One Of Advertisers' Most Coveted Audiences.


One of the key findings from NPR and Edison Research's recently-released Spoken Word Audio Report was a 55% jump in time spent listening in 2023 compared to 2014, among the U.S. population age 13 or over. Edison found that 31% of all audio time is currently spent with spoken word programming, vs. just 20% nine years ago.


A further breakdown of the data shows that the demographic most responsible for this increase is at the youngest end, consumers age 13-34, those still treasured by many advertisers. That group's share of time spent with spoken word audio is up a whopping 150% from 2014, from just 12% then to 30% now. That's a significantly higher rate of growth than among those aged 35-54 (45%) or 55+ (23%).


“There have been many developments within the space over the past nine years driving this trend,” Edison says, “including an explosion of new content for audiences to choose from, and major app platforms adding and promoting spoken word content to their users.” Read: podcasts.


According to this, the fifth iteration of Edison's report, the number of Americans that listen to spoken word content each day has reached 135 million, or just under half (48%) the population aged 13 and older. The report says, “Not only are more people listening to spoken word content every day, but more time is being spent with Spoken Word sources overall as well.”

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