Audioscape Shows The Addictive Nature Of Podcast Listening


As Techsurvey 2024 and the latest Infinite Dial have shown, audio continues to play a vital role in American life. Even as AM/FM leads the audio landscape in reach and engagement, more data shows how podcasts are rapidly winning over new audiences.

Cumulus Media’s 2024 Audioscape report, which draws on data from Edison Research’s Q4 2023 Share of Ear study and Nielsen Scarborough’s Fall 2023 Podcast Buying Power report, provides an in-depth look at the latest podcast consumer trends and insights.

A major trend noted is that once listeners start engaging with podcasts, it quickly becomes their primary audio platform. In 2016, podcasts accounted for 26% of the audio share among podcast listeners, followed by AM/FM radio at 22% and streaming at 17%. Today, podcasts have increased their share to 32%, while AM/FM radio remains at 22%, and streaming has slightly increased to 18%. This shift indicates that podcasts are becoming the most preferred audio source for their listeners.

The median age of the podcast audience has remained steady at 34 years, despite significant audience growth. This makes the podcast audience considerably younger than AM/FM radio listeners, who have a median age of 47, and linear television viewers, whose median age is 56. This younger demographic is vital for advertisers aiming to reach a more youthful, dynamic audience.

Most podcast consumption occurs at home, accounting for 65% of total listening time. Podcast listening happens throughout the day and night, with a significant portion occurring between 10 AM and 3 PM, followed by the early morning hours from 6 AM to 10 AM.

Podcasts also have significant growth opportunities in smaller markets. Nielsen Scarborough’s Podcast Recontact Study indicates that podcast listeners are overrepresented in the top ten markets (+13%) but underrepresented in markets ranked 51 and above (-19%).

Advertiser interest in podcasts is at an all-time high. According to data from the Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group and Advertiser Perceptions, the proportion of agencies and advertisers considering podcast advertising has soared from 18% in 2015 to 62% in 2023. Those who are likely to actually advertise in podcasts have increased sixfold, from 10% to 58% over the same period. Currently, 58% of brands and media agencies advertise in podcasts, nearly a fourfold increase from 15% in 2015. This growth reflects the increasing recognition of podcasts as an effective advertising medium.

More detailed insights and data can be found in the Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group blog.


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