Audio is a huge part of life for Americans. While AM/FM radio dominates the audio landscape with mass reach and significant time spent, podcasts and smart speakers are fast growing platforms representing engaging environments for brands.
The recently released Cumulus Media 2022 Audioscape examines the podcast consumer and smart speaker trends using data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” Report from Q4 2021.
Here are the key findings:
Podcasts and smart speakers have opportunities for growth in markets 51+ where they are underrepresented
Nielsen Scarborough’s Podcast study finds podcast listeners are overrepresented in the top ten markets (+19%) and underrepresented in DMAs 51+ (-24%).
Similarly, 35% of all smart speaker owners are in the top 10 markets where 31% of the U.S. population resides. People in the top ten DMAs are 12% more likely to own a smart speaker.
Conversely, smart speaker ownership is underrepresented by 24% in the DMAs 51+ and smaller where 31% of the U.S. population is found. Only 22% of smart speaker owners hail from DMAs 51+.
It is not immediately clear why markets 51+ are opportunities for growth for podcasts and smart speakers but it is worth further study and examination.
Since 2016, the two fastest growing audio platforms are podcasts and AM/FM radio streaming
Over the last five years, podcasts’ share of ad-supported audio has tripled from 4% to 13% among persons 25-54. AM/FM radio streaming shares have nearly doubled (6% to 10%).
- Amazingly, the ad-supported share of AM/FM radio streaming (10%) is nearly as big as the combined audiences of Pandora and Spotify (11%)!
- Over-the-air AM/FM radio remains the dominant audio platform at a 61% share of ad-supported audio.
- Pandora’s share has dropped steadily from an 11% in 2016 to 8% in 2021.
- Over five years, Spotify’s ad-supported shares have been stagnant at a 3% share. (Spotify’s subscription service, which is advertising free, has soared 5X since 2016.)
- SiriusXM’s ad-supported shares are up modestly (2% to 4%) but are still very small.
38% of Americans have a smart speaker as ownership growth has moderated
In four years, smart speaker ownership has increased fivefold. As of Q4 2021, 38% of Americans own a smart speaker, up 5.4 times versus Q1 2017.
The median age of the podcast audience holds at 33 despite massive audience growth
The podcast audience is ten years younger than the median age of AM/FM radio listeners and 26 years younger than linear television where audiences have a median age of 59.
Most podcast listening occurs at home throughout the day
While podcast audiences have soared, the vast majority of listening still occurs at home (69%). Podcast listening occurs throughout the day and night.
Podcast listeners are super fans of audio, spending +41% more time with audio than the average American
Podcast listeners love audio and want more of it. They spend a stunning five hours 46 minutes each day with audio on a daily basis.
- Podcasts and smart speakers have opportunities for growth in markets 51+ where they are underrepresented
- Since 2016, the two fastest growing audio platforms are podcasts and AM/FM radio streaming
- 38% of Americans have a smart speaker as ownership growth has moderated
- The median age of the podcast audience holds at 33 despite massive audience growth
- Most podcast listening occurs at home throughout the day
- Podcast listeners are super fans of audio, spending +41% more time with audio than the average American
Download your copy of the Cumulus Media 2022 Audioscape
Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media | Westwood One and President of the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group®.
Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.