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U.K. Likes Podcasts Finds ‘Infinite Dial UK’

As elsewhere in the world, podcasting is popular in the U.K.

Radio World is taking an in-depth look at “The Infinite Dial UK 2021” report this week.

Podcasting was the final topic raised during Edison Research’s “The Infinite Dial UK 2021” webinar.]

Hosted by Edison Research President Larry Rosen, the Dec. 2, 2021, webinar shared the findings of the Infinite Dial UK report, which was based on 1,000 telephone interviews with U.K. residents 16 and older during the fourth quarter of 2021.

“Podcasting has been the hottest topic in the world of audio now for several years,” said Rosen. “I think all of you will find this part really interesting.”

Podcasting Awareness in Australia, Canada, U.S. and U.K. (Courtesy Edison Research)

Seventy-one percent of U.K. listeners 16+ are familiar with podcasts, he said. Breaking this down by age group, it was 73 percent for people aged 16–34, 72 percent for 35–54, and 67 percent for 55+.

This compares to 92 percent (16+) awareness with podcasts in Australia, and 78 percent in Canada and the U.S. (18+ and 16+ respectively).

[Read more of our coverage of the “Infinite Dial” report]

“Fifty-nine percent of everyone in the U.K. say they’ve ever listened to a podcast,” said Rosen. This breaks down to “63 percent of 16- to 34-year-olds, 61 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds and 54 percent of those aged 55 and older.”

Interestingly, “even though awareness of podcasting is lower in the U.K. compared to the U.S., the percentage of people who say they’ve ever listened to a podcast is a couple points higher,” he said. “Fifty-nine percent in the U.K. (16+) is a couple points higher than our 2021 estimate here in the USA (16+) of 57 percent.” Podcast listenership in Australia was 60 percent (16+), and 57 percent in Canada (18+).

Meanwhile, “41 percent of everyone in the U.K. saying, ‘Yes, I’ve listened to a podcast in the last month,’ is pretty equal across the age groups,” Rosen said. The value ranged from 38 percent among those 55+ to 44 percent for 35–54.

“And how does that compare to the United States? Well, that’s actually bang on exactly the same: 41 percent is our USA estimate (16+) for 2021.” Australia comes in at 36 percent (16+) and Canada at 38 percent (18+).

“My understanding is that monetization of podcasts or the podcasting business has not developed to quite the same level in the U.K. as seen been seen in the United States,” said Rosen. “Maybe this graph can be part of the impetus for more money coming into the space. As people can see, our estimate for monthly usage of podcasting in the U.K. is exactly the same as what we get in the United States. You also see that the estimates in the U.K. is higher than our estimates for Canada or, Australia tied with USA, for the highest of these four countries. So, any theories that people have that podcasts lag in the U.K. is just not supported by our Infinite Dial report.”

The British podcast audience is 51 percent female and 49 percent male, he said, while the U.K. population is split 50/50 along these lines. As well, “the people who are in that 41 percent listen to podcasts have exactly the same age profile as the total population.”

Composition of Monthly Podcast Listening by Age in U.S. and U.K. (Courtesy Edison Research)

Larry Rosen then outlined weekly podcast listening in the UK. “25 percent of everyone in the U.K. age 16 and older said, they’ve listened to a podcast in the last week” he said. “In this case, the numbers a little bit behind our USA estimate for this year (16+) which was 29 percent, but higher than our 2020 estimate.” Australia’s rate was 26 percent (16+), while Canada was 23 percent (18+).

Rosen closed the Infinite Dial UK 2021 webinar by asking how many podcast episodes respondents listened to the week before being surveyed. This came out to a weekly average of five per person, with about a third of people saying four or five episodes and another third saying six to ten episodes. Only 1 percent of respondents said they downloaded 11 or more episodes during in the prior week.

“We get a very similar estimate in the U.K. as what we see in the United States,” said Rosen (no numbers were provided). He continued by emphasizing that, “on average people who listened to any (podcasts) are listening to five podcasts episodes in the last week. And that shows that this is a robust medium that deserves the attention.”

Rosen closed the webinar by reiterating his earlier point: “I hope that we’ll see the same kind of investment in the U.K. podcasting market that we’ve seen in the United States, and that maybe the Infinite Dial UK can help bring that across.”

Part 1: “First-Ever ‘Infinite Dial UK’ Survey Provides Insights for U.K. Radio
Part 2: “‘Infinite Dial UK’ Details U.K. Radio Listening, Ownership
Part 3: “‘Infinite Dial UK’ Digs into U.K. Online Audio
Part 4: “‘Infinite Dial UK’ Looks at In-Car Media
Part 5: “U.K. Likes Podcasts Finds ‘Infinite Dial UK’