So much of everyday life has been upended by the coronavirus outbreak, with millions of Americans now working from home – and spending a lot more of their free time in their house than in the past. The impact that will have on podcast consumption is something the industry is still trying to determine.
“I don’t think we should assume podcast listening is going to go up right now because what happens in discontinuous periods in our history like this is that media listening becomes all willy-nilly. It goes haywire and unpredictable,” said Edison Research SVP Tom Webster. “Although many of us are working from home, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have the context and environment to listen to more podcasts. If you’re not commuting that’s time that maybe you’re not listening. If you are home and you have kids at home, good luck doing anything except home-schooling those children and feeding them.”
Webster’s comments came during a webinar Thursday for the release of the annual Infinite Dial study that Edison Research co-produces with Triton Digital. The two companies had planned a first-ever rollout of the much-anticipated study at a New York event, but they were forced to scrap that plan because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m listening less to daily news-driven podcasts, which on a normal workday is what I spend most of my time listening to, and instead my news is coming live from broadcast television and radio,” said John Rosso, Triton’s President of Market Development. “My podcast consumption has gone to more lean-back or entertainment than information,” he said.
That may be a hint of what’s to come. In addition to changes in listening quantity, Webster said the types of shows that people are accessing may also be different. “It would not surprise me if there’s a bit of a flight to comfort,” he predicted.
That could be why the just-released show from best-selling author Dr. Brené Brown has suddenly popped to No. 1 on Apple Podcasts. (see the Chartable ranker HERE) Unlocking Us features Brown in a show which creator Cadence13 says will feature conversations that “unlock the deeply human part of who we are, so we can live, love, parent, and lead with more courage and heart.”