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How Do You Listen to a Podcast?

2017 study charts flux in ways podcasts are consumed

The way that Americans are listening to online audio is changing, particularly when it comes to podcasts. This is according to the 2017 Infinite Dial Study released by Triton Digital and Edison Research.

According to the study, which was released earlier this month, 65% of podcast consumption takes place on a mobile device. And perhaps surprisingly, 80% of that listening happens while at home. That’s a sharp contrast to the workday trend seen in streaming music, according to a companion study released by Triton Digital. The second most popular listening location (at 47%) is in an automobile, followed by 29% at work, according to the Edison report.

The way in which listeners tap into podcasts is also changing. Nearly 77% say they click on a podcast and listen to immediately, while 41% download a podcast manually and listen to it later. Compare that to 27% who subscribe to an automatically downloaded podcast service and then listen to it later.

This bucks earlier assumptions that podcasts were downloaded and then drifted off into the ether, never to be listened to again, said Tom Webster, vice president for strategy and marketing for Edison Research. “Listening immediately has become the dominant paradigm. The concern that people click on a podcast to download it and then never listen to it [is] really fading into the background.”

That’s not to say that it doesn’t still happen — and frequently. The Edison Research study revealed that in fact slightly less than half — 48% — of all downloaded podcasts are never actually listened to.