In a commentary at MediaDailyNews, Jeff Larson writes about how as Americans’ focus on health and safety grows during the COVID-19 outbreak, many are working from home — and about to set records in media consumption. In 2019, prior to the outbreak, Nielsen reported the average U.S. consumer watched, read or listened to 10.5 hours of media each day. But you can expect that to grow in this “new reality.” As with other media, look for podcasting to grow.
With 100 million Americans already listening, they may turn to more podcasts for pandemic info. Since Jan. 22, the podcast network Acast had more than 650 episodes that reference “corona” or “COVID” in the episode titles, and these have already been downloaded 16 million times. Similarly, in the past year 1 in 5 Americans were listening to audiobooks, quickly approaching the level of ebook readership. As we look for something to pass our time in isolation, expect podcasts and audiobooks to thrive.
Larson also suggests streaming audio will see an uptick in use. 40% of U.S. adults use some form of music-streaming service, paying an average $34 a year per user. The cost to listen to music via alternative streaming formats is very low — often free, if supported by advertising — and these services are likely to be perceived as a bargain in a time of growing economic uncertainty. Spotify estimates the music subscription market will grow from about $8.9 billion in 2019 to $17.3 billion by 2024, so gaining market share now will be critical.