For the first time Nielsen’s Audio Today 2019 report is giving podcasters a look at who makes up their audience. The data, released today, shows as podcasting has gone mainstream a new picture is emerging of who is now listening.
Nielsen’s report shows among Adults 18 and older, the average age of those who’ve listened to a podcast in the past month is 39. And they live in a household with an average of three people with a combined income of $96,500. That casts a considerably different image of podcast listeners than the single Millennial that many until now have pictured when considering their audience.
Nielsen confirms a gender split remains, however. Its tally shows among those who’ve listened to a podcast in the past 30 days, 57% are male compared to 43% female. A majority of the audience also remains overwhelmingly white, accounting for two-thirds of monthly podcast listeners.
The past few years have seen radio companies invest millions of dollars in building their podcast business and Nielsen’s data shows it is money well-spent if broadcasters want to hold onto their audience. That’s because 90% of monthly podcast listeners surveyed by Nielsen said they listen to the radio on a weekly basis. And 16% say they’re a satellite radio subscriber.
When podcast listeners do listen to music formats on the radio, another common perception of who podcast fans are is also called into question. Rather than a crowd of public radio and Triple-A hipster-types, Nielsen says the most listened-to format is serving up Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
Pop CHR has more podcast users than any other radio format with 28% of that genre’s listeners also embracing the burgeoning audio format. The AC format ranks second, with 26% of its listeners tuning to podcasts, followed by News/Talk at 24%.
Although Nielsen’s Audio Today 2019 report doesn’t directly address the education level of podcast listeners, its list of which cities the medium is strongest in coincides with those metro areas with large concentrations of college-educated professionals. Washington, DC tops the list. There the data shows nearly half of the metro’s population aged 6 and older has ever listened to a podcast. The Seattle market, home to tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, ranks second.
Even as podcasting grows, Nielsen says radio remains the dominant audio platform—and it’s not even a close race. For all their options, 272 million Americans aged 6 and older listen to the radio each week. Adults 18-49 are the demographic that tunes in the most and Country is the format they prefer most according to Brad Kelly, managing director of Nielsen Audio. Adults 25-54 are the second most reached demographic for AM/FM radio.
“As the audio marketplace evolves, another macro trend is emerging: big billion-dollar brands are (re)awakening to audio-based advertising solutions,” Kelly says in the report. “These advertisers know that reach matters. It’s a fundamental component of successful campaigns, and a necessary ingredient when building awareness and moving product off the shelf.”
As media fragmentation continues, AM/FM’s big reach may stand out in the crowd but Kelly says it’s also becoming clear to advertisers that no one type of media can get the job done by itself. “Radio specializes in boosting ad campaigns because it primarily reaches consumers during the day and away from home, when they’re on the go and closest to the point of purchase,” Kelly said.