As the 2020 campaign season gets rolling, new research shows traditional AM/FM radio remains far and away the leader in reach for campaign teams looking to secure votes. That’s probably not a big surprise. But what is revealing is podcasts now have bigger reach among potential voters than streaming music services or satellite radio.
New analysis by Westwood One marks the first time political data from Edison’s “Share of Ear” has been publicly released. It shows that one of every ten registered voters--adults 18 and older—listens to a podcast daily. That’s more than twice as many voters who listen to SiriusXM Radio or the ad-support version of Spotify.
The new research also shows there’s also a slight difference among political persuasions. The Edison data shows independent voters are most likely to listen to a podcast compared to Democrats or Republicans. That’s especially helpful to the podcast industry since it’s those voters in the middle that candidates on the left and right often need to persuade in order to emerge victorious on Election Day.
The data, which were part of Edison’s Share of Ear report, also looks at how Americans divvy up their audio time each day. Again, AM/FM radio is the dominant ad-supported audio medium to target voters without question. But the data shows podcast’s making gains as well. Among registered voters, podcast’s share of ad-supported audio time is 7%.
Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Westwood One and Cumulus Media, says in a blog post that Pandora’s audience profile “has completely changed” since the previous presidential election cycle as its listener numbers have continued to shrink. “It has shifted from a heavy 18-34 Millennial skew in 2015 to greatly reduced middle age audience in 2019,” Bouvard says. Not only have young people “completely abandoned” Pandora, he says, but Pandora has seen modest growth among Boomers 55+. “In 2017, Spotify began to surpass Pandora among 18-24s. By Q2 2019, Spotify has beaten Pandora among 18-24s by a massive six-to-one margin,” Bouvard says.