Podcasts Make a Big Jump In the Car and 3 Other Audio Things

As usual, the Infinite Dial series from Edison Research and Triton Digital is a trove of interesting data about an ever-changing audio landscape.  The 2018 edition released last week does not disappoint.  A couple of key points:

As expected, podcasting continues to grow. 1 out of 4 people listen monthly. That translates to an estimated 73 million people. Hardly a niche.  Weekly listening rises from 15% to 17% or about 48 million people. 

Podcasts move ahead of satellite radio for the first time

One of the more fascinating trends is the listen change occurring in the car. People who report listening to podcasts in cars is up sharply year-over-year; a full 21% from last year's report.  That moves podcasts ahead of satellite radio for the first time.

If you take the podcast number (23%) and the online radio number (28%) you see what looks like the continued ascension of connectivity in the car. More people are bringing their entertainment with them. Interestingly, just under half report still using a CD player. So there's that oddity, but a good reminder that it takes 11 years to turn over the car fleet and many people have a lot of money invested in CDs. 


The trend line for where people report listening to podcasts most often is changing.  The car is up about 4% from last year to 22%.  Home is down roughly the same amount.


Amazon Music likely benefits from being the default on Echo devices

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The streaming service numbers are interesting, especially with Smart Speakers on the rise. Notable is the continued growth of Amazon Music which is the default music service for the Alexa devices.  It now outpaces Apple music, which itself was up this past year. It is important to note that this study measures people's perceptions. Many Echo users may not be aware that by default they are using Amazon's music service.  With the surge of Smart Speaker ownership, actual listening is likely significantly higher.  

More podcasts listened to each week


Even with many more people listening to podcasts, the number listened per week increases from 5 (past few years) to 7 today. The rise of daily podcasts may have played a roll as new habits formed.

Podcast Listening is a Mobile Thing

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Listening to podcasts has clearly become a mobile experience.  Other studies, including some focus groups we conducted with Nuvoodoo Media last year, make clear a deep frustration with finding podcasts and using many of the podcast apps. Smart Speakers and improved voice on Smartphones may be a catalyst in reducing the friction of tapping and downloading.

Next time -- Are smart speakers really going to be able to save in home listening to commercial radio?

Off to the Borrell conference in New York.  

I will be at the Local Media Conference (LOAC) Tuesday (March 13) presenting on Voice Speakers and sonic branding with Fred Jacobs.

I will be at the Local Media Conference (LOAC) Tuesday (March 13) presenting on Voice Speakers and sonic branding with Fred Jacobs.

Steven GoldsteinComment