Podcast Listening Is Soaring


Those are the words of Westwood One/Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard. Citing the 2019 Edison Research Infinite Dial study, Bouvard examines the historical growth of podcasting and audio streaming to understand how new forms of audio grow.

The formula Bouvard uses: Habituation ratio = weekly audience divided by monthly audience. “A simple way to determine if media habits are forming is to examine the ratio between monthly and weekly audiences. A simple “habituation ratio” can be derived by dividing weekly audience by monthly audience.”

He says audio streaming took decades to build weekly habits. “Back in the early 2000s, Edison found that only half of monthly audio streaming listeners listened weekly. From 2006-2010, the average audio streaming habituation ratio rose to 61%. In the first half of this decade, 2011-2015, 74% of the monthly audio streaming audience listened weekly. From 2016 to 2019, the average monthly/weekly audio streaming habituation ratio grew to 89%.”

Bouvard says it took nearly 20 years for audio streaming weekly audiences to represent 90% of monthly listening and podcast audiences are getting in the listening habit. “In 2013, Edison began asking if consumers listened to podcasts on a weekly basis. The habituation ratio of monthly to weekly listening has been growing steadily, even as the monthly podcast audience has nearly tripled. Podcast habituation has grown from the mid 50s in 2013/2014 to 69% in 2019.”

Podcasting’s 2019 69% monthly to weekly habituation is where audio streaming was in 2012. It took streaming and podcasting seven years to grow from a habitation ratio of 58% to 69%.”

For audio streaming, it was another seven years before achieving a 90% habituation ratio. Will it take another seven years for podcasting to see habituation grow from 69% to 90% too? Bouvard’s concusion: “Podcasting is firing on all cylinders: reach is up and so is habituation.”

Get more from the Westwood One blog HERE.


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