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Report: Popular Culture Boosts Podcasting Numbers

2017 Infinite Dial report notes a spike in time spent listening to online audio

Podcasting continues to gain awareness and followers, a trend that you can thank (or blame) on today’s popular culture.

A recent study released by Triton Digital and Edison Research has attempted to break down data about which audio and video streaming services are proving most popular. It also looked at how and when people listen to digital audio.

The report estimates that an estimated 112 million individuals have listened to a podcast in the past, a jump from 29% of listeners aged 12 and older in 2012 to an estimated 40% in 2017.

The numbers aren’t a surprise to John Rosso, director of Market Development for Triton Digital. “[It’s] no surprise given the rapid rise of podcasting in popular culture,” he said. Household-name entertainers like Katie Couric and Alec Baldwin have become involved in podcasting, which is helping lead the format from a niche pastime to a mainstream media opportunity, according to a separate podcasting data kit from Triton that used the Infinite Dial report to analyze audience insights and trends.

The goal of the 2017 Infinite Dial report was a simple one: to search out and uncover today’s trends in audio.

“The goal is just that, to uncover trends in regard to the consumption of online audio, the awareness and use of certain online audio brands, and the consumer behavior as relates to media consumption in the car,” Rosso said.

While awareness of the podcasting format remained relatively flat between the years 2009 and 2015, the year 2016 was different. Last year, researchers said they observed a significant jump in awareness, the biggest jump since the years 2008 and 2009. As Radio World reported, the report found that awareness of podcasting has grown by 22% in just two years after six years of relatively static growth. Today, 60% of that Americans ages 12 and older are familiar with podcasting, up from 55% last year.

One area that Rosso found particularly compelling involved time spent listening to online audio. The report noted a 21% increase in time spent listening to online audio, which Rosso said was a reversal of a multiyear trend.

He was also surprised by the rapid adoption of smart speakers. The report found that 7% of American homes now own one.

The 2017 Infinite Dial report was released on March 9 and is available on the Edison Research website.