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Spoken Word Audio Provides Listeners New Perspectives, Introspection

Research suggests an average time spent listening of 2 hours, 6 minutes per day for spoken word

This week, we’re taking a look at NPR/Edison Research’s new report on spoken word audio.

The research behind the latest NPR/Edison Spoken Word Audio Report suggests an explosive growth in listening to that medium, particularly among young and multicultural demographics. This begs several questions: Why, what motivates them? How long are they listening? Is it more or less than in the past?

The Spoken Word Audio Report shows increases in listenership for spoken audio rising fastest among younger and multicultural demographics.

While not part of the formal quantitative research, NPR and Edison conducted in-depth interviews with several respondents for additional background about their listening habits, including the why part of the equation.

[Spoken Word Listenership Increases 40% Since 2014]

The results — many are seeking a different point of view from what they’re hearing on social or mainstream media. Typical of the responses, “… I really like the idea of seeing things from different sorts of perspectives.” Another said, “I want to know about different parts of the world, country, different things like that.” And, “I do think it provides different perspectives on stuff that we don’t see in the media every day.”

Another frequent response from participants is that spoken word audio provides them with an inward view, as well as an opportunity for self-improvement and introspection. One respondent said, “it kind of helps me understand more about how to be more successful and try to be more financially well-off.” Others replied, “… so I can improve my positivity within myself that way and I can spread it to others.”

Additional comments included, “You hear other people call in and someone who has a similar problem gives you an idea to try that you can apply to your situation or whatever,” and, “I can take things from each podcast that can help me become a better mom or be a better girlfriend or, eventually, be a good wife. So that’s why I like to listen.”

The research suggests respondents have an average daily listening time of 2 hours and 6 minutes for spoken word content. Compared to five years ago, 51 percent of those surveyed said they are listening to spoken work more than in the past; 31 percent say it’s the same, while 18 percent are listening less. Those numbers skew upwards for the younger demographics and multicultural listeners, down for older listeners, and stay more or less even for white listeners.

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