This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups, and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34. These findings are part of The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, presented Tuesday in a webinar hosted by Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite.
This new Report examines listener behaviors and preferences related to spoken word audio – podcasts, news, sports, talk radio and audiobooks – and includes five years of previously unreleased data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study.
Key findings from the Spoken Word Audio Report include:
- 121 million Americans listen to spoken word audio each day, an increase of 16 million people in the last five years.
- Growth in spoken word listening has been greatest among young people: those age 13-34 now spend 19% of their audio time with spoken word audio (up 58% from 2014).
- Mobile technology use is driving growth in spoken word audio category: 22% of listening to spoken word audio in 2019 is now on a mobile device, compared to 9% five years ago.
- Spoken word audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers, with large percentages of consumers reporting they turn to spoken word audio content for information, inspiration, entertainment, and companionship.
- 59% of spoken word audio listeners are digital-first, meaning they listen most through computers, mobile devices, and smart speakers. Forty-one percent are analog-first, meaning they listen most through AM/FM radio receivers.
According to Edison Research Vice President Megan Lazovick, “Spoken word audio is different. Spoken word can be vastly more intensive listening experience than other types of audio. People lean in — they truly listen. Twenty-four percent of all time spent listening to audio is going to spoken word, and that’s especially impressive considering where it was just five years ago.”