Podcast listening surges in 12-24 and two other significant takeaways from The Infinite Dial

The annual Edison/Triton Infinite Dial report is always a great one-stop guide for a drone-like overview of where things are moving with audio. The report came out last week, and while it is loaded with important trended data, there are three podcast data points which I keep thinking about:

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  1. 40% of people aged 12-24 are listening to podcasts - There is simply no other media, other than social, that checks the box with this hard to reach demo.  Overall, commercial radio’s median age is 46, PrimeTime TV checks in at 56, and cable news is above 60.



There is simply no other media, other than social, that checks the box with this hard to reach demo.

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2. Podcast listening among Spotify listeners aged 12-24 is up 66% over the past year - Spotify appears to be a significant catalyst to the growth of podcasting in this age group.  When Spotify made its announcement last month about the acquisition of Gimlet and Anchor, CEO Daniel Ek made the rationale for podcasts on Spotify simple and clear: people who listen to podcasts on Spotify stay twice as long as those who don’t listen to podcasts. Spotify has the ability to turbo-charge podcast listening among their 207 million users and bring a subscription model feature to the 96 million people who already pay for it.

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3. The average number of podcasts listened to weekly is seven - This may seem low, but is a great number. OK, maybe it’s not great if you consider the odds of seven vs 700,000 podcasts, however, with so many new podcast listeners coming aboard, the number listened to in a week could easily have dropped as newbies taste-tested shows.  

In part, some of this may be due to the advent of daily news podcasts which move listenership from once or twice weekly podcasts to an everyday habit.

As the chart illustrates, just about one-third listen to six or more podcasts each week with the same amount consuming one or two podcasts.  

This makes the podcast prospects far brighter for Spotify than Pandora

A couple of other things worth noting:

  • Amazon Music is a huge beneficiary of smart speaker growth - It is the default music service and in one year has vaulted (9% to 14%) from an also-ran to tying with Apple’s music service.

  • In-Dash audio is up to 19% - Two out of ten Americans can access streaming and podcast content more easily in the car via in-dash audio systems including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

  • Pandora and Facebook have a lot in common - Facebook is shedding younger demos. The Edison/Triton study points to 17 million fewer Facebook users over two years among 12-34. Pandora has negative traction among this demo as well (42-41-36). Spotify grabs much of the currency in 12-34 audio streaming (37-39-46). This makes the podcast prospects far brighter for Spotify than Pandora as the report shows older demos are far less likely to be podcast listeners.

  • YouTube is a music monster - 70% of 12-34 year olds have used it in the past week. That’s mighty impressive and should send out giant flares to commercial radio and streamers alike. Even more significant; more than half of all Americans now use YouTube for music every week. That’s a barnburner.

Thanks Edison and Triton. Always invaluable info.

The full report is here

Steven GoldsteinComment