WNYC Studios and Edison Research

New podcast audience research conducted by Edison Research and prominent podcast producer WNYC Studios offers some intriguing details about listening habits, demographics, advertising and engagement. For one, the study reveals that word of mouth is the largest driver of new podcast listeners, while social media is the second largest.

More than one in four podcast listeners report having first discovered podcasts through a recommendation from friends and family, at 29%, while one in four people of those already familiar with podcasts also report learning about new shows in the same way, at 23%. The next most popular mode of podcast discovery is via social media, at 21%.

Of note, 84% of WNYC Studios listeners report having recommended a podcast to a friend, while 78% overall report having recommended a podcast to a friend. And one in three WNYC Studios listeners share podcasts on social media, at 32%. Podcast listeners also report having discovered the medium in the following ways: 17% via their smartphone, 15% via public radio programming, and 13% from an article or program.

The study from WNYC Studios and Edison Research—The National Podcast Audience Report—also found that podcast listeners pay more attention to advertisements on podcasts than to advertisements on other media. More than half of the overall podcast audience, 55%, report “always” or “sometimes” paying attention to ads on podcasts. Additionally, 45% of listeners “always” or “sometimes” pay attention to radio ads. These percentages are higher than attention paid to other forms of media, including TV, billboards, streaming music ads, magazine ads, online video ads, and online display ads.

WNYC Studios, the second largest podcast producer in the country, offers such titles as “2 Dope Queens,” “Radiolab,” “Freakonomics Radio with Stephen Dubner,” “A Piece of Work with Abbi Jacobson,” and “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin.”

The research revealed that 51% of U.S. podcast listeners report listening to at least one podcast produced by WNYC Studios. As well, 70% of WNYC Studios listeners report having ever subscribed to a podcast, compared to 59% of the overall podcast audience.

Another insight from the study: 55% of the WNYC Studios audience is younger than 35 years old, compared to the overall podcast audience, at 47%; and 36% identify as none-white, while 30% overall identify as non-white.