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Westwood One Releases Podcast Download -- Fall 2019 Report


Everybody's Listening
Everybody's Listening

Cumulus Media is releasing the results of its latest Westwood One's Podcast Download -- Fall 2019 Report, which has studied podcast audience and advertiser trends over the last three years. The Fall 2019 edition reveals insights for content creators and advertisers. It also found podcast events are a huge growth opportunity for content providers and advertisers, and that brands looking to reach cord-cutters can find them in podcast audiences.

"On the audience side, our latest study finds the majority of new podcast listeners are women, and that there is a disconnect between smart speaker ownership and smart speaker usage for podcasts," said Cumulus Media EVP/Marketing and Westwood One President Suzanne Grimes. "For advertisers, it's important to understand that podcast ad preferences for the industry and listeners are at a crossroads - listeners want host-read ads, while the use of traditional pre-produced ads is growing."

Women continue to close the gap in podcasting as growth in time spent with podcasts and the majority of new podcast listeners are women. For the second consecutive year, podcast listenership is up among women. Compared to July, 2017, weekly female podcast listeners are spending 23% more time with podcasts. This growth in time spent is 3x that of total weekly podcast listeners. Weekly female podcast listeners have downloaded 13% more podcasts and they listened to 15% more podcasts compared to July, 2017.

Podcast events are a huge growth opportunity for content providers and advertisers. Podcast listeners are willing to travel, intend to go to more events, and open to spending. These podcast event-goers skew male, Millennial 18-34 and are heavy podcast and audio users. One out of five heavy podcast listeners (19%) reported attending a live podcast show. 52% of podcast event-goers are willing to travel over 25 miles to see a live show. Event-goers are willing to spend an average of $42 for tickets.

While smart speaker ownership has increased, there is little podcast listening on smart speakers. According to Edison Research's Q2 2019 "Share of Ear," 30% of Americans own a smart speaker, tripling in a mere two years. Although podcast listeners are 33% more likely to own a smart speaker, their device ownership is not translating into smart speaker podcast listening. From 2017 to 2019, the number of weekly podcast listeners who use smart speakers to listen to podcasts only grew from 16% to 18%.

Podcast listeners prefer host-read ads while pre-produced podcast commercials are increasing. Since 2017, weekly podcast listeners stated they favor host-voiced ads over pre-produced ads. This is particularly true for Millennials 18-34 and women. However, the recently released "Full Year 2018 Podcast Ad Revenue Study" from IAB/PWC reported that usage of host-read ads is falling while pre-produced ads are growing. In 2017, host-read ads represented 67% of the podcast ads delivered. That fell to 63% in 2018, a decrease of -6%. Meanwhile, pre-produced ads have grown +12% between 2017 and 2018.

Millennials 18-34 and female weekly podcast listeners are more likely to be cord-cutters. Podcast audiences provide a new way of reaching cord-cutters. Among weekly podcast listeners, 29% don't have a subscription with any pay-TV company, and that number grows among Millennials 18-34 (34%) and women (36%). To reach lost audiences who have cut the cord on their pay-TV packages, advertisers can now turn to podcasts.

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