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Listening to Podcasts and Online Audio Hit New Highs


The Infinite Dial
The Infinite Dial

The portion of Americans who listen to any kind of online audio, and the portion who listen to podcasts, have both reached new record highs, according to The Infinite Dial an annual survey from Edison Research with support from Audacy, Cumulus Media and SiriusXM Media.

On Thursday, Edison Research Vice President Megan Lazovick presented the latest benchmark data on weekly and monthly podcast consumption, as well as insights into the evolving landscape of online audio listening, AM/FM radio engagement, smart speaker utilization, social media usage, and other digital media behaviors, at the Podcast Movement Evolutions conference in Los Angeles.

Some of the key findings include:

Podcast listening reach is up overall:

  • 47% of the U.S. 12 population has listened to a podcast in the last month, up 12% year over year; 34% of the U.S. 12 population has listened to a podcast in the last week, up 10% year over year. Despite changes in how downloads are being delivered and counted, listening levels are up markedly.

Growth in podcast reach is driven by large increases among the number of female listeners:

  • 45% of women in the U.S. age 12 have listened to a podcast in the last month, up from 39% in 2023, an increase of 15%; 32% of women in the U.S. age 12 have listened to a podcast in the last week, up from 27% in 2023, an increase of 19%
  • Weekly and monthly podcast listening among men are up 3% and 4%, respectively
  • Increases in the number of monthly and weekly podcast listeners are seen across all age groups
Online audio listening hits the highest mark ever:
  • 76% of those in the U.S. age 12 have listened to online audio in the last month, an estimated 218 million people
  • 90% of those age 12-34 and 85% of those age 35-54 have listened to online audio in the last month

Smart speaker ownership appears to have plateaued, but the number of smart speakers per owner continues to rise:

  • 34% of the population age 12 report owning a smart speaker, down from 36% in 2023
  • Nearly half of smart speaker owners (43%) own three or more of the devices

Lazovick said, "The Infinite Dial was created for those looking to understand emerging technologies and the infinite options available to consumers. If you have tuned into the webinar or used the findings at any point in the past, then you are a part of that legacy of curious people helping to keep it going. We hope you are as excited as we are to have access to this rigorous research, free and available to all."

Other findings include:

  • 70% of those age 18 who have driven or ridden in a car in the last month currently ever listen to radio as an audio source in their primary car; 55% listen to online audio and 32% listen to podcasts
  • 60% of those age 12 have a traditional AM/FM radio set in their home
  • 32% of those age 18 who have driven or ridden in a car in the last month have either an Android Auto or Apple CarPlay system in the vehicle
  • 72% of those age 12 own a smart TV

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