Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Nielsen: 'Light' Podcast Listeners Tune More To Radio

According to the latest Nielsen Total Audience report, U.S. consumers 18 and older now spend almost 12 hours each day engaging with media, which is up almost one-and-a-half hours from a year ago. When they look at the audio universe, Nielsen sees tremendous podcast listener growth—and it’s not coming at the expense of other audio options.

In fact, the second release of Nielsen’s Podcast Listener Buying Power database found that light podcast listeners listen to 10 hours and 13 minutes of radio each week. That’s 43 minutes more than the average American; heavy podcast listeners tune in to radio 22 minutes more. Findings from the database attribute much of the increased podcast engagement to existing listeners who are migrating from light use to heavy use—a strong testament to the content being offered to listeners.

The latest release notes that the number of heavy podcast listeners—those listening every day—grew by more than 3.6 million. Concurrently, the average number of episodes heard per week increased by 10%. But podcast engagement isn’t just growing among heavy users. The total podcast audience is growing at a compound average growth rate of 20%.

Amid the array of media options consumers have available to them, podcasts, like broadcast radio, are portable and are a constant companion when viewing a screen isn’t an option. That makes audio the media of choice during transit times (either in a car or public transportation). Smartphones are driving podcast engagement, as more than 36 million Americans now access podcast content this way. The heaviest podcast listeners are also most engaged when they’re away from home.

While smartphones are the main tech platform for listening, however, smart speakers are playing a bigger role in growing podcast audiences. Across platforms, smart speakers are more likely to attract audiences of more than one, which, from an impression perspective, is a key insight for advertisers.

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