Spoken Word Audio In U.S. Hits Highs For Audience Reach and Share

Spoken word audio listening time and audience size attain record highs in the U.S. according to The Spoken Word Audio Report 2023 released from NPR and Edison Research. The fifth iteration of the annual report places special focus on listening locations and explores spoken world audio consumption at home, at work, in-car, or other locations. The findings were presented in a webinar hosted by National Public Media (NPM) VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson and Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and are available now at npr.org/spokenword audio.

Key findings from the report include:

Spoken Word Audience size and listening time attain record highs: Almost half (48%)— approximately 135M people — of those in the U.S. age 13+ listen to some type of spoken word audio daily, up two percentage points (46%) from last year. Listeners in the U.S. age 13+ spend 31% of their daily audio time with spoken word, which is a 55% increase over nine years ago (20%).

Spoken word listening at home has grown dramatically: Sixty percent of the total daily audio time spent with spoken word audio is at home, 24% in the car, 13% at work, and 3% at some other location. The time spent listening to spoken word audio at home has grown to 41 daily minutes in 2014. Increases in at-home spoken word audio listening are seen across every hour in the listening day.

Spoken Word listening in-car has shifted post-pandemic, but AM/FM radio remains on top: Of all the daily time spent listening to spoken word audio, time spent listening in the car has declined from 36% in 2014 to 24% in 2023. In the car, 62% of spoken word audio consumed by those in the U.S. age 13+ is to AM/FM radio content, including over the air and streams.

For the first time ever, the mobile device is the primary way people listen to Spoken Word: 39% of spoken word audio consumed daily by this age 13+ in the U.S. is on a mobile device, followed by 35% on an AM/FM radio receiver. At home, 41% of spoken word audio is consumed on a mobil device, and at work, 47% of spoken word is consumed on a mobile device. AM/FM radio receivers still dominate in-car, garnering 60% of the token word audio listening there.

Podcasts represent a large and growing share of spoken word listening: Podcasts now represent over one-third (36%) of time spent with spoken word audio. Twenty-eight percent of time spent listening to podcasts goes to NPR/public radio. At home, 40% of spoken-word audio listening goes to podcasts.

“Each year we keep a close eye on the number of people who are listening and the amount of time spent with Spoken Word Audio. We’re happy to see that for 2023, more people than ever are listening and they are spending even more time with Spoken Word, providing a powerful opportunity for brands looking to expand and engage their audience.” said NPM VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson.

“Podcasting now accounts for over one-third of the time spent with spoken word audio. The cultural shift to digital benefits this space, or perhaps, it’s vice versa – the growing enthusiasm for podcasting is shifting the culture digital. Either way – podcast listening continues to grow,” said Megan Lazovick, VP at Edison Research,

How the study was conducted

Edison Research’s Share of Ear is a quarterly survey of Americans who are asked to keep a detailed one-day diary of their audio usage. Share of Ear utilizes a nationally representative sample of those age 13+. The sample for this study was 4,193.

Nielsen To Market Edison Research’s Share of Ear and Edison Podcast Metrics

Nielsen, a global leader in audience measurement, data, and analytics, announced that it will market Edison Research’s Share of Ear and Edison Podcast Metrics services to advertising agencies.

Edison’s Share of Ear is a highly regarded and widely cited service that provides deep insights about the complete audio landscape, including broadcast radio, streaming, podcasting, downloaded audio, smart speakers, and other sources of audio content. Edison has conducted Share of Ear studies in multiple waves each year since 2014. Edison Podcast Metrics measures persons-based listening estimates using frequently updated surveys to provide a complete view of the rapidly growing podcast audience.

Nielsen is committed to providing a complete view of the unduplicated audience across multiple platforms. Edison Podcast Metrics and Share of Ear services complement and support this vision by providing advertising agencies with a holistic view of audio and podcasting today. Edison services will be offered as part of Nielsen’s portfolio of audio and podcasting solutions, including Podcast Buying Power and Podcast Ad Effectiveness studies, that support investment decisions in the ever-changing podcast ecosystem.

“The media landscape is evolving quickly and agencies have a vital need to understand how all the media puzzle pieces fit together,” said Jon Kaiser, Head of Nielsen’s Agency and Advertiser-direct businesses. “Edison’s insights are best in class and Nielsen is excited to work together with them to provide media planners and buyers with deep insights into the total audio landscape and the rapidly growing podcasting audience.”

“Share of Ear and Edison Podcast Metrics provide advertising agencies and clients with incredibly rich data about the total audio universe,” said Larry Rosin, President of Edison Research. “We are excited to work with Nielsen to grow the audio space by providing information about the total audio audience to planners and buyers.”

The Share of Ear and Edison Podcast Metrics services are based on surveys of persons aged 13 and older in the United States, and are updated four times a year. Agencies interested in learning more about Share of Ear and Edison Podcast Metrics should contact a Nielsen representative.

The Women’s 2022 Podcast Report – Fact Sheet

Conducted by Edison Research for SXM Media, The Woman’s 2022 Podcast Report captures the listening behaviors of women across the nation to determine and explore new growth, emerging themes and established demographics. Stemming from previous studies like the Latino Podcast Report and the Black Podcast Listener Report, this report is the next iteration in SXM Media’s endeavor to elevating underrepresented voices.

Who We Surveyed

We heard from 1,500 Americans who self-identify as women, aged 18+ in August of 2022 and listen to podcasts monthly. The collection of data was weighted to match age, sex, Census region of the U.S. women’s population and Infinite Dial 2022 podcast listening statics.

Stats

Podcast Listenership Among Women Is Up

Over 1 in 3 Women 18+ (35%) have listened to a podcast in the past month. This is up 67% over the past 5 years, and now represents an estimated 47 million women.

Over the past 5 years, women have started closing the gender gap in a medium that once skewed heavily male. In 2017, only 44% of U.S. 18+ monthly podcast listeners were female. In 2022 48% are female, more closely mirroring the U.S. population.

As we see with podcast listeners overall, women monthly podcast listeners stand out from total U.S. women ages 18+ They are:

Younger (48% more likely to be ages 18-34)

More likely to be in the workforce (47% more likely to be employed full time)

Higher income (36% more likely to have household income or $100K or more)

Highly Educated (22% more likely to have a college degree)

More likely to be Moms (33% more likely to have children under 18)

Day to Day Listening Habits

Women listen to a variety of podcast content – on average, they listen to 5.7 different genres or topics. Some groups are even more voracious, with women aged 25-34 listening to 6.9 topics, Hispanic women listening to 6.8 topics, and moms listening to 6.5 topics.

Women listen to podcasts both at home and on the go. Of those studied, 2 in 3 women listen to podcasts in the home most often, with 6 in 10 sometimes ever listening in a car/vehicle. Further, 3 in 4 women listen to podcasts via mobile devices (smartphone or tablet) most often.

75% of women say they listen to podcasts to be entertained while doing mundane tasks. Podcast power everyday lives for women like housework/chores (69%), cooking/baking (59%), laundry (57%), getting ready for the day (55%), eating (52%), exercising (50%), getting ready for bed (48%), and running errands (42%).

Sharing and promoting podcasts is something women listeners are apt to do. In fact, 73% of women listeners find out about new podcasts to listen to from friends and family – their top discovery source.

Women listeners’ reasons for sharing podcasts range from simple entertainment to deeper emotional motivations. 75% shared a podcast because it inspired them, 47% shared because they wanted to have a deeper connection with someone, 47% shared because they wanted to share their feelings with someone, and more than 30% shared because it made them cry. Of these groups, Gen Z and Black Women are the most likely groups to look for deeper connections when sharing a podcast recommendation with others.

Gen Z, Women of Color, and Moms’ Content Preferences Differ

Women listen to a diverse slate of podcast topics ranging form entertainment to informational content. Comedy leads overall, followed by true crime, love & relationships, entertainment/celebrity/gossip, news & information, and wellness/self-improvement. That said, content preferences vary by age, ethnicity and parental status.

Gen Z Women

Gen Z women over-index for listening to podcasts about language, horror, drama, celebrity and beauty/fashion.

Gen Z women over-index for being interested in female-focused podcasts on LGBTQ+, gender, sex positivity, reproductive rights, and dating/relationships.

Of note, millennial women over-index on many of the same things as Gen Z, but with the addition of astrology and motherhood.

Hispanic Women

Hispanic women over-index for fantasy/sci-fi, children’s topics, horror, language, and drama.

Black Women

Black women over-index for love & relationships, wellness/self improvement, drama, adult fiction, and celebrity.

Black women over-index on interest in female-focused podcasts on social justice, public policy, business/economy, and self care.

Moms

Moms over-index for children’s, language, sports, adult fiction, and fantasy/sci-fi

Moms over index on interest in female-focused podcasts on kids & family, motherhood, dating/relationships, fiction, and reproductive rights.

Edison Research To Add Download Counts To Its Podcast Metrics Services

Edison Research, provider of Edison Podcast Metrics, the largest and most complete survey of podcast listening, announced today that it has developed a complementary service to count downloads for participating publishers. After months of research, Edison is utilizing a new method for determining U.S. downloads that does not employ a redirect nor involve delivery of log files.

“We have developed an elegant new solution that will enhance our unique Edison Podcast Metrics survey,” said Edison Research President Larry Rosin. “While our survey of 20,000 podcast listeners each year provides the most complete look at the totality of actual listening to podcasts, download data will provide deeper information to subscribers, especially for smaller and short-run shows.”

Edison Podcast Metrics is the only survey measurement of U.S. weekly podcast listeners currently available. It covers the entire podcasting category with data about listening, not downloading. As such, it covers listening across all platforms and cannot be manipulated. The download counts will be a supplement to the established service. “This combination, designed using input from various publishers, will make our data even richer and more comprehensive – allowing podcast producers and advertisers to have even more understanding of the space,” said Rosin.

Edison Research is an independent, third-party research supplier. It is not owned by nor affiliated with any publisher or sales house in the podcasting field. The new research will be available sometime near the end of fourth quarter.

Podcast Listening And Online In-Car Listening Among Canadians

Podcast Listening among Canadians hits a new high for weekly and monthly habits, according to The Infinite Dial 2022 Canada from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

Forty-three percent of Canadians 18+ listen to podcasts monthly, up five percentage points from 2021, which means that Canadians now outpace Americans (38%) and Australians (40%) for monthly podcast listening.

AM/FM radio is still used by most Canadians as an audio source in-car, but has ceded some ground to digital audio sources. Seventy-percent of Canadians 18+ who have driven or ridden in a car in the last month have used AM/FM radio in-car, down from 79% in 2021. Nineteen percent of those who have driven or ridden in a car in the last month have used SiriusXM in car, up from 16% last year, and 19% have used online radio in car, from up to 17% last year. Podcast consumption in-car remained steady at 20% of those 18+. Twenty-six percent of Canadians who have driven or ridden in a car in the last month have an in-dash entertainment system.

More Canadians are listening to online audio in 2022 overall, not just in cars. Seventy-three percent of Canadians age 18+ are monthly online audio listeners, up from 71% last year, and 65% are weekly online audio listeners, up from 61% last year. Twenty-five percent of Canadians listen to AM/FM radio online monthly, up from 21% in 2021.

Smart speaker ownership reaches 30% of the Canadian 18+ population, up from 27% in the 2021 study. Those who already own smart speakers are continuing to acquire multiple devices. Twenty-four percent of smart speaker owners own three or more of the devices, up from 16% in 2021, and smart-speaker owners in general own an average of two of the devices.

“Podcast listening has seen some significant growth in Canada this year,” noted Nicole Beniamini, VP at Edison Research. “It seems the new podcast listeners Canada gained during the pandemic not only stayed with the medium, but have become consistent and more frequent listeners.”

“This year’s Infinite Dial highlights Canadians’ strong in podcast listening, with adoption now exceeding what we see in America and Australia,” said John Rosso, President & CEO, Triton Digital. “We look forward to seeing the industry positions for continued growth and innovation.”

Other findings of The Infinite Dial 2022 Canada include:

Canadians are back in their cars after a tremendous drop during the pandemic. In 2021, 77% of Canadians reported driving or riding in a car in the last month. This year, 84% of Canadians reported driving or riding in a car in the last month

56% of monthly podcast listeners consume podcasts they know are produced in Canada

47% of monthly podcast listeners say they typically listen to the entire podcast, and 44% say they listen to most of the podcast

Edison Research Announces Top 50 U.S. Podcasts by Audience Size for Q2 2021

Edison Research announces the comprehensive U.S. Top 50 Podcast chart for Q3 2021. This list ranks the 50 biggest podcasts by audience size, based on the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report, the only podcast measurement service that measures the relative audience size and demographics of all podcast networks. The Podcast Consumer Tracking Report is the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads.

“We are continuing to see strong performances from the true crime and news categories. What I find most compelling is the strong movement by some of the independent shows on the chart. It’s a testament to how remarkable this medium is that both large networks and independent creators continue to be able to amass a sizable audience.” said Edison Research SVP Tom Webster.

The Edison Research Top 50 Podcasts of Q3 2021 list is derived from data collected continuously from Q4 2020 – Q3 2021, from surveying weekly podcast consumers ages 18 and older in the U.S. Participants indicate which podcasts they listened to in the past week along with a variety of demographic, psychographic, and purchase behavior information. The results are then coded and analyzed to ascertain the genre, network, and sales representation for each podcast. The relative audience size of each podcast network is then calculated and expressed as the percentage of weekly podcast listeners reached by that network. Surveys of over 8,000 podcast listeners in the U.S. were conducted Q4 2020 through Q3 2021.

Current subscribers to the Podcast Consumer Tracker include the top networks in podcasting as well as leading technology platforms, and is growing quarterly. Subscribers include SXM Media, Google, NPR, Spotify, Wondery, ESPN/ABC/Disney, WarnerMedia, and more.

The Top Ten Podcasts are:

  • The Joe Rogan Experience
  • The Daily
  • Crime Junkie
  • This American Life
  • Stuff You Should Know
  • My Favorite Murder
  • Pod Save America
  • Serial
  • Office Ladies
  • Call her Daddy

You can find the full list of the Top 50 podcasts at Edison Research.

Edison Research Announced U.S. Top 50 Podcasts

Edison Research announced the comprehensive U.S. Top 50 Podcast chart for Q2 2021. This list ranks the 50 biggest podcasts by audience size, based on the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report, the only podcast measurement service that measures the relative audience size and demographics of all podcast networks. The Podcast Consumer Tracking Report is the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads.

The top three podcasts, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Daily, and Crime Junkie, also ranked in 1-2-3 order in the Top 50 Podcasts of 2020.

“This is the second anniversary of the Podcast Consumer Tracker, and the top shows have been fairly consistent over that time. Because our research covers the entire space, regardless of publisher or listening application, we have been able to report that stability even as the space continues to evolve,” said Edison Research SVP Tom Webster.

The Edison Research Top 50 Podcasts of 2021 list is derived from data collected continuously from Q3 2020 – Q2 2021, from surveying weekly podcast consumers ages 18 and older in the U.S. Participants indicate which podcasts they listened to in the past week along with a variety of demographic, psychographic, and purchase behavior information.

The results are then coded and analyzed to ascertain the genre, network, and sales representation for each podcast. The relative audience size of each podcast network is then calculated and expressed as the percentage of weekly podcast listeners reach by that network. Surveys of over 8,000 podcast listeners were conducted Q3 2020 through Q2 2021.

“What is fascinating about these data is that we are seeing some marked differences between people who primarily get their podcasts through Apple Podcasts, those who primarily use Spotify, and those who mainly use YouTube. The character of the shows–and of the audiences–differs by platform,” added Webster.

Current subscribers to the Podcast Consumer Tracker include the top networks in podcasting as well as leading technology platforms, and is growing quarterly. Subscribers include SXM Media, Google, NPR, Wondery, ESPN/ABC/Disney, WarnerMedia, and more.

The top ten podcasts are:

The Joe Rogan Experience – Joe Rogan (Libsyn)
The Daily – The New York Times (Simplecast)
Crime Junkie – audiochuck (Megaphone)
This American Life – This American Life (Simplecast)
Stuff You Should Know – iHeartRadio (Megaphone)
My Favorite Murder – Exactly Right (Omny Studio)
Pod Save America – Crooked Media (Megaphone)
Office Ladies – Earwolf & Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (Omny Studio)
Serial – Serial Productions (Simplecast)
The Ben Shapiro Show – The Daily Wire (Megaphone)

The full list of the top 50 podcasts can be found here.

Number of U.S. Monthly Podcast Listeners Soars

The Latino Podcast Listener Report 2021 from Edison Research finds that 36% of U.S. Latinos age 18+ (16 million people) have listened to a podcast in the past month, which is a 44% increase over 2020 (25%). This is narrowing the gap with the overall 18+ U.S. population, of whom 40% are monthly podcast listeners. New research shows that this dramatic increase comes from both English-dominant and Spanish-dominant listeners.

The U.S. Latino Podcast Listener report was commissioned by Adonde Media, Lantigua Williams & Co., Libsyn, PRX, Simplecast, Sonoro, SXM Media, and was conducted by Edison Research. This is the second annual release of the report.

One factor may have contributed to the changes seen in the most recent study: the COVID-19 pandemic. Over half (54%) of Latino monthly podcast listeners say they began listening to podcasts during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 or after). Forty-four percent of non-Spanish dominant U.S. Latino monthly podcast listeners and 57% of Spanish-dominant U.S. Latino monthly podcast listeners began listening within the last year, which reinforces the idea that available content for Latino listeners is increasing.

The number of U.S. Latinos reached daily by podcasts has increased dramatically since pre-pandemic times, with 21% of the U.S. Latino population reached by podcasts each day, up from only 11% in Q1 2020.

Regarding monetization of podcasts, 58% of U.S. Latino monthly podcast listeners say they would be likely to pay a small fee to avoid hearing ads on the podcasts they listen. Six million U.S. Latinos say they would be very likely to pay a small fee to listen to ad-free podcasts. In the current ad-based environment, through, U.S. Latinos show an affinity for brands advertised on Latino podcasts — 75% say they are likely to purchase a brand on a podcast hosted by Latinos.

Seventy-seven percent of U.S. Latino podcast listeners listen to podcasts with a video component. Forty-one percent of U.S. Latino podcast listeners say they prefer consuming a podcast with audio and video, while actively watching the video.

Latino podcast listeners also have unique listening habits and motivations. When they listen to podcasts at home, 49% are spending time with family and friends – more than double that of the overall 18+ population (22%). Thirty-eight percent of U.S. Latino podcast listeners listen to stay connected with their family’s country of origin.

Findings from the study debuted in two webinars on July 13, one in English and one in Spanish, presented by Gabriel Soto, Director of Research at Edison Research, and Martina Castro, CEO of Adonde Media. The U.S. Latino Podcast Listener Report is the only comprehensive research on Latino podcast listeners in the United States.

“Last year’s study put so much emphasis on the upside for podcast listening growth among Latinos, but these new findings surpassed our expectations in just one year,” said Soto. “The number of monthly podcast listeners among U.S. Latinos soared. And it didn’t just take a pandemic, but everyone a part of this beautiful community — creators, marketers, platforms and everyone else in the industry. We are happy we got to measure the fruits of the labor of so many, and we’ll continue doing so – the ceiling is high.”

Other key findings from the study include:

  • 29% of U.S. Latinos are weekly podcast listeners
  • 48% of U.S. Latinos say they have ever listened to a podcast mostly in English (up from
  • 36% in 2020)
  • 33% of U.S. Latinos say they have ever listened to a podcast mostly in Spanish (up from 24% in 2020)
  • 58% U.S. Latino monthly podcast listeners are men, 48% are age 18-34, 35% are Spanish-language dominant

According to Castro, “This second round of the study tells a nuanced and exciting story of a diverse community that is quickly discovering podcasts, and that is growing at an impressive rate. This data once again shows the value of being counted and demands that the industry pay attention to Latinos as a valuable demographic of listeners, both in English and en español.”

This listening will likely not go away, according to U.S. Latino podcast listeners, as 96% say they are very or somewhat likely to continue to listening to podcasts once the pandemic ends.

Work-From-Home Leads to Enormous Shift in US Audio Consumption

As a significant share of American workers shifted to at-home employment in 2020, naturally their audio consumption patterns were deeply affected as well. Data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear survey allows its clients to quantify those shifts and also predict how things might shift again if and when people go back to commuting to offices and other work locations.

In addition to previous data releases that showed a massive shift in the total share of all audio consumed at home, the latest Share of Ear release shows a clear difference in listening between those working primarily at home vs. those not working from home.

In addition to previous data releases that showed a massive shift in the total share of all audio consumed at home, the latest Share of Ear release shows a clear difference in listening between those working primarily at home vs. those not working from home.

Among employed persons who work from home, nearly three-quarters of their total audio consumption (72%) happens at home. Meanwhile, among those who work away from their homes, only 29% of their listening happens at home.

Share of Ear subscribers recently received an extensive report detailing all the ways audio has changed in the last year under so many COVID-related disruptions. Included are details on the work-from-home cohort, as well as many insights into how the pandemic changed audio over the last year.

Share of Ear has tracked the growth of audio consumption since 2014 and has always tracked listening location as part of that dataset. The study has now added a measure of those U.S. adults who are employed and work primarily from home, and those who are employed and do not work primarily from home, leading to new insights.

“We knew from Share of Ear data in 2020 that a tremendous amount of listening had shifted to home as a result of quarantine restrictions. While almost everyone was spending at least some increased time at home during the pandemic, it is those who shifted their work to their homes who drove the biggest changes,” said Director of Research Laura Ivey. “We also saw audio consumption rise on computers and other devices such as internet-connected televisions, so we can see that at-home workers are using various audio devices at home.”

As quarantine restrictions continue to evolve and the American workforce continues to adapt to workplace changes, Share of Ear will continue to track these findings.

Edison Research Released Podcast Industry’s Top 10 Podcast Ranker

Edison Research is pleased to announce its first Top Ten Podcast ranker, new from the company’s subscription product, The Podcast Consumer Tracker (PCT). The ranker depicts the top ten podcasts in America by reach among weekly podcast consumers. The PCT is the only comprehensive and all-inclusive study of the reach of podcast networks and shows in America.

The top ten podcasts in America for the third and fourth quarters of 2019, as ranked by the percentage of weekly podcast consumers 18+ who have listened to them, is as follows:

(1) The Joe Rogan Experience
(2) This American Life
(3) The Daily
(4) My Favorite Murder
(5) Crime Junkie
(6) Stuff You Should Know
(7) Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
(8) Serial
(9) Pod Save America
(10) Radiolab

Begun in Summer 2019, the PCT is now in its third quarter of fielding and is the only study that measures the entire podcast space continuously, compared to other download rankers which only measure participants/customers of those rankers, or users of a specific platform. As such, the PCT offers a holistic view of the reach and impact of all leading podcasts and podcast networks.

“This ranker looks deceptively simple,” notes Edison Senior Vice President Tom Webster, “but it’s the product of hand-coding tens of thousands of podcasts from a sample of over 4,000 podcast listeners. Podcast listening is still fairly fragmented, and it wasn’t until we had this large sample that we felt it would be responsible to even put out a top ten, let along a longer list.”

The PTC is sampled continuously throughout each quarter to negate the effects of limited releases and new shows and is weighted to the industry standard measure of podcast listening, the Infinite Dial research series from Edison Research and Triton Digital.