Edison Research

More evidence that podcast listeners are super fans of audio comes from Edison’s Third Quarter 2019 “Share of Ear” study. According to the latest data, the average American consumes nearly four hours of audio each day, including everything from personal music collections and satellite radio to AM/FM, streaming and podcasting Yet podcast consumers spend more than five hours a day with audio, 36% more than the average.

Podcast listeners are so hooked on the medium that it is their number one source of audio. More than one in four hours (28%) of their audio time is spent with podcasts, followed by AM/FM radio (19%), streaming (15%) and owned music (14%). In other words, if they’re listening to podcasts, it’s their top audio source. That’s in sharp contrast to the average American who devotes 43.0% of their audio time with broadcast radio.

The new stats are the subject of the latest post on Westwood One’s Everyone’s Listening blog, which looks at the Edison data contained in the network’s 2020 Audioscape report. It shows that podcast listeners are heavy consumers of spoken word content, especially when it’s personality-driven. Podcast listeners are nearly twice as likely to listen to news compared to total audio consumers. And when it comes to personalities, 79% of podcast consumers listen to them from any source. That’s over three times more than total audio consumers.

It’s no secret that talk and personality content is one of the foundational pillars of podcasting. And among those who consume talk/personality content, time spent with podcasting is up 39% since two years ago. Millennials were up 12% in that same timeframe. The largest growth is seen among older demographics with persons 35-64 seeing a whopping 73% increase in podcasts’ share of audio time spent among talk and personality listeners.

And in a bit of a conundrum, podcast listeners are more likely to be smart speaker owners – even though smart speaker owners spend little time listening to podcasts. Talk about a disconnect: 40% of podcast listeners own a smart speaker, which is 33% more than the total U.S. smart speaker ownership level of 30%. However, smart speaker owners spend little time with podcasts on a smart speaker device.

Importantly, AM/FM radio continues to have the largest share of ear across the entire U.S. population at 43.0%. Owned music came in at a distant second place (12.1%), followed by – surprise! – music videos on YouTube (10.2%). After that it’s SiriusXM (8.8%), Spotify (6.0%) and Pandora (5.0%). Then podcasts (3.8%), music channels on TV (3.4%), Amazon Music (1.3% and Apple Music (1.1%). But the numbers look different among smart speaker owners. AM/FM still dominates (at 35.3%) but SiriusXM creeps up to 11.5% podcasts rise to 4.8% and Amazon Music (native to Alexa-enabled smart speakers) jumps 131% to a 3.0% share of ear.