Digital audio revenue reached $1.217 billion during the first half of 2019, up 30% from the $935 million recorded during the first half of last year as the number of Americans who consumed online audio, including podcasts, continued to climb. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported audio’s share of the overall digital advertising marketplace remained steady at 2%.
“It is one of the growth areas that we have seen over the last few years. The number is still relatively small but it’s been growing rapidly,” said David Silverman, a partner at PwC which tabulates the data for the IAB. “Most of that growth came on the mobile platform at a 41% growth rate— just shy of $1 billion on mobile devices,” he said. Spending geared toward desktop audio consumers however also continued to grow, increasing 1% to $252 million during the first six months of the year. The IAB doesn’t break out how much of the revenue is allocated from podcasting or digital audio streaming services.
Digital audio’s growing revenue is tied to increasing use. The IAB pointed to data from Edison Research and Triton Digital showing the gains made by podcasting and music streaming services during the past year. “Now over two-thirds, or 67% of people aged12-plus are estimated to listento online audio, which is an increase of 5% year-over-year,” said Chris Bruderle, Senior Director Research and Analytics at the IAB.
The IAB reports overall U.S. digital advertising revenue totaled $57.9 billion during the first half of the year, up 17% year-over-year. The total set another new record total for the digital advertising segment. “It is the largest first half year on record,” said Silverman during a webinar Monday announcing the first half data. “The growth rate, while still super impressive and leading pretty much any other industry, is beginning to show signs of slowing down,” he added. One of those signs was for the first time since the Great Recession in 2009 the first half revenues were less than the previous second half revenues, in this case by $30 million.
Revenue in the second quarter reached $29.9 billion. That was up 16.7% from a year earlier but the IAB also noted it was a slower growth rate than what was seen in prior years.
Time spent with mobile has grown 20% compared to a year ago, said Bruderle, while desktop time spent slipped 7% during the first half. It means that more than three-quarters of all internet time spent is now through a mobile device. That’s likely not surprising to most podcasters since that’s where the majority of consumption to podcasts is done.
“Mobile is what is driving the growth. As consumers have shifted their viewing time from desktop to mobile devices, the revenue has followed,” Silverman said. “Revenue is really catching up to the time spent.” The IAB says mobile ad revenue grew 29% during the first half of the year. Nevertheless Silverman said the growth rate is slower than what it has been during the past several years, also suggests a peak may be nearing.