Diversity People 220

The top formats in podcasting may be Comedy and News, both reaching 12% of podcast listeners aged 18 and older according to Nielsen. But that only tells part of the story. Westwood One has dug deeper into the numbers to reveal that depending on the demographic a marketer is trying to reach, the biggest formats may not be the right pick.

While Comedy may be the biggest category overall, that is not the case among Men aged 18 and older. For them, Nielsen data shows News comes out on top with a 13.7% share versus 12.4% for Comedy. 

Even among the top-ranking Comedy genre, there’s a range of reaches. The category does the best among Men 18 to 34 with an 18.2% share. But that is nearly six points higher than the 12.6% share Comedy has among Hispanic women.

“No longer can podcasting be accused of being a low-reach lacking scaled media when you have 41% of Americans listening to podcasts in a typical month,” says Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard in a company video

But there is a lot of overlap between the various podcast formats. To help buyers get the biggest reach bang for the ad buck, Westwood One has created a podcast genre duplication chart. It shows for instance that 85% of News podcast listeners also listen to shows in the Arts category. While only a third of Business podcast listeners also listen to True Crime shows.


The information is in Westwood One/Cumulus Media’s new Audio Planning Guide that Bouvard says was drafted based on the questions it received from media buyers and advertisers. That includes sorting out how much time people spend with various forms of audio. For that, it leans on Edison Research’s Share of Ear study that reveals AM/FM remains what Bouvard said is the “dominant” audio platform with a 76% share while the streaming services remain relatively small.

“The real growth story in podcasting is from podcasts, which now at an 11 share is bigger than Pandora and Spotify combined,” said Bouvard. The data also shows nearly a quarter (23%) of the ad-supported audio media time spent by 18 to 34 year old’s is with podcasts.

Download the Audio Planning Guide HERE.