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iHeart and Cumulus Highlight Podcast Trends

The two big media companies each point to new consumption data

America’s two biggest commercial radio owners separately are calling attention to favorable trends in podcasting consumption. Both have large investments in the podcast market.

iHeartMedia Vice President of Communications Jenn Powers distributed a set of slides to radio trade press Monday.

One showed that, according to Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” numbers, daily podcast reach is accelerating across every age group and now reaches 43% of people in the 25–34 age demographic.

This graphic from iHeartMedia is based on data from the Edison Research “Share of Ear” report.

Meanwhile, among podcast listeners, time spent listening has increased from 26 to 57 minutes per day over six years, according to eMarketer findings.

Nielsen and Edison research indicate that while the majority of radio listening happens out-of-home, the majority of podcast listening is at home.

Also, there are now more weekly podcast listeners (89 million) than Netflix subscribers (67 million), according to Edison Research’s “The Infinite Dial.” And Powers pointed out that, in the last two years, the number of Black and Hispanic podcast listeners has jumped more than 30%, again per Edison data.

“We wanted to see where the listenership was coming from, and based on the research, it looks like Americans are making more time for podcasts mostly by reducing time spent with streaming video, streaming music and social media,” she wrote. That finding was based on a survey by Critical Mass Media.

“Video podcasts have been a big discussion lately in the industry — whether it’s needed and cost-effective, which is interesting because this new data sample showed that podcasts are pulling listener share primarily from YouTube’s audience — a reasonable motivation for their heightened focus on video podcasting to drive retention.”

Separately, Cumulus Media, citing data from Edison Research and Nielsen Scarborough, said that over half of all time spent with talk/personality content now occurs via podcast, a doubling over five years. 

Cumulus said the median age of the U.S. podcast audience has held at 34 “despite massive audience growth,” and that the podcast audience profile “is employed, upscale and educated,” according to Nielsen Scarborough.

It said “podcast listeners are super audio fans, spending nearly six hours a day with audio, +38% more time than the average American.”

Cumulus also found that “podcasts have opportunities for growth” in smaller markets, where listening is underrepresented; and that Spotify has inched past Apple as the top podcast listening platform, with YouTube a a close second, and Apple third.  

In conclusion, “While AM/FM radio dominates the audio landscape with mass reach and significant time spent, podcasts and smart speakers are fast growing platforms representing engaging environments for brands,” Cumulus said. (Read more of the Cumulus findings.)

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