Podcasting Closes Gap with AM/FM in Spoken Word Audio

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In 2017, radio dominated spoken word consumption with 66% of the audio market, but now Edison Research’s latest Share of Ear data is showing podcasting increasingly rivals AM/FM as the preferred platform for spoken word audio.

When measured in 2017, podcasting had just 13% of the market share in spoken word audio However, the landscape has shifted dramatically since then. In 2024, AM/FM’s share has decreased to 43%, while podcasting has risen to 36%. With the gap narrowed from 53 percentage points to just seven over seven years, the trend shows podcasting may soon overtake AM/FM in popularity within the category sooner rather than later.

The generational divide plays a critical role in this shift. Among listeners aged 13 to 64, podcasting has already surpassed radio, capturing 41% of the audience compared to radio’s 39%. Conversely, for those aged 65 and older,  radio maintains a strong lead at 66%, with podcasts at 13%.

Edison previously disclosed that podcasting’s overall reach now also rivals television. Podcasts have a weekly reach of 48% among those aged 18-34, closely trailing TV’s 50% in this group. Podcasting’s monthly reach now extends to 135 million Americans or 47% of those aged 12 and up, with rates exceeding 60% in the 18-34, 18-49, and 25-54 age brackets.

Additionally, podcast popularity has significantly grown among female listeners, whose monthly reach increased by 15% over the past year to 45%, nearly equal to the 48% reach among male listeners. This surge is highlighted by 71% of these female listeners tuning into podcasts weekly, marking the highest rate in a decade.

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