Edison Research Recaps Top Radio Findings Of 2023


    As 2023 draws to a close, Edison Research is reflecting on the year’s most significant research findings. Via their numerous studies and insights on radio, podcasting, distribution, and digital, here is some of what Edison found most significant:

    More Demand For On-Demand

    Edison Research’s Q2 2023 Share of Ear data unveiled a pivotal moment in audio consumption history in the US – on-demand audio content surpassed linear audio for the first time. 50.3% of daily audio consumption among those aged 13 and older was found to come from on-demand platforms, slightly edging out the 49.7% from linear platforms like over-the-air radio, satellite radio, and streaming radio services.

    Just seven and a half years ago, linear listening led on-demand by 38 percentage points. The rise of on-demand content is largely fueled by the increasing popularity of podcasts and the preference for selecting specific songs or playlists over traditional radio or linear streams. While the report by Edison Research indicates that linear listening isn’t facing extinction – as it still holds value for many and even on-demand listeners engage with it – the trend towards on-demand audio is expected to persist into the future.

    Majority of Audio Listening Now At-Home

    Edison’s Audio in Evolution, sponsored by Amazon Ads, found over half of audio listening now happens at home, primarily through connected devices. Since 2017, there has been a 414% increase in smart speaker ownership, leading to a 20% higher likelihood of audio streaming among owners. These individuals listen to audio content for nearly five hours daily, 12% more than those without smart speakers.

    Consequently, home has become the primary location for audio engagement, accounting for 58% of all listening, a trend that has stabilized post-pandemic. This enduring shift towards home-based listening aligns with the growing trend of listening to radio stations’ digital streams on internet-connected Smart TVs, indicating a significant change in how and where people consume audio content.

    The Infinite Dial Celebrated 25 Years

    The Infinite Dial’s 25th-anniversary study observed the U.S.’s shift from dial-up to digital, with 75% of those aged 12+ engaging in online audio in the last month. Podcasts rebounded strongly after a decline in 2022, with a record 42% of Americans over 12 years old listening to at least one podcast in the past month.

    The study highlighted the growing influence of in-dash entertainment systems like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in newer vehicles while noting a decline in CD listening due to their removal from car dashboards. Spotify leads in online audio brand usage, particularly among 12-34-year-olds, while smart TVs have seen a surge in ownership, becoming a preferred device for streaming audio at home due to their convenience.

    Mobile Radio Listening Gains Traction

    Edison Research’s Share of Ear survey for Q2 2023 highlighted the enduring strength of AM/FM radio amidst the evolving radio and audio landscape, influenced by the rise of smartphones and digital devices. 63% of Americans aged 13 and older still engage with AM/FM radio content daily. The survey further revealed that 84% of daily listeners use traditional radio sets for over-the-air content.

    In contrast, only 5% rely exclusively on digital devices like phones, computers, and smart speakers for online streams of AM/FM stations. Interestingly, about 7% of all respondents (11% of daily listeners) use both over-the-air and streaming methods, with a notable portion of daily listeners (one in six) incorporating digital devices into their listening habits, signifying the convergence of traditional and digital platforms in media consumption.

    Spoken Word Audio Hits a New High

    Edison and NPR’s Spoken Word Audio Report revealed a notable surge in spoken word audio’s popularity, with its audience share growing by 55% over the last nine years. The report indicates that 48% of respondents now engage with spoken word content, up from 39% in 2014-2015. This amounts to an audience of 135 million, a 4 million increase from the previous year. Additionally, the average daily listening time at home has risen to 41 minutes in 2023, and for the first time, mobile devices have overtaken traditional platforms as the primary medium for spoken word audio, particularly at home.

    Diverse Audiences Embrace Podcasts

    Diverse audiences, including Black and Latino listeners, are actively engaged in podcast listening. This finding is supported by The Black Podcast Listener Report and The Latino Podcast Listener Report. Data found about half of Black podcast listeners do so at home, and a third of this audience listens to podcasts on the go. There’s a notable increase in the time spent on podcast listening, with many dedicating over five hours per week, contrasting the declining trend of less frequent listening, which amounts to less than an hour weekly.

    Kids Are Loyal Podcast Listeners

    Children are not only active podcast listeners but also grow into loyal adult listeners. This trend is detailed in The Kids Podcast Listener Report and The Gen Z Podcast Listener Report. About 70% of parents report their children initiating podcast sessions, with nearly half of these children listening weekly and 67% monthly. Family listening is prevalent, and children’s interest in podcasts has surged, with 93% of parents confirming this trend.

    The study also highlighted a commercial opportunity, as nine out of ten parents are willing to pay for podcast subscriptions, indicating a lucrative market for content creators.

    More Edison favorites of 2023, including coverage on European car, election data, and the Kelce brothers’ podcast, can be found on Edison Research’s site.


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