Profile of the podcast audience

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In the Infinite Dial 2015, an ongoing research project produced by Edison Research and Triton Digital, the metrics and consumption behavior of podcast listeners are portrayed sharply. Because The Infinite Dial has been running for over 20 years, trending behavior is also included. When it comes to podcasting, metrics from 2006 inform the numbers.

Two essential facts about the audience for podcasts come through:

  1. Awareness and listenership is growing
  2. Podcast users are active and voracious

Podcasting is a 10-year-old category, so Edison’s 10-year trend of basic listening (number of American adults and teens who have ever heard one) charts the most fundamental audience growth:

infinite dial 2015 - podcast basic listening

Consumption is migrating from computers to mobile — a 4% shift year-over-year. In 2015, 55% of podcasts were heard “most often” through phones, tablets, and portable audio players.

Frequent listening reduces the overall numbers somewhat, but the trending remains pointed upward. Approximately 46-million Americans listen to podcasts at least monthly (17%), and an estimated 27-million listen at least weekly (10%). The weekly number represents a 25% lift over the 2014 snapshot.

The podcast audience profile is markedly well-educated and prosperous. Forty-five percent of listeners have a college degree, and 52% are in $100k-plus households.

The hunger for programs distinguishes the most eager podcast listeners. Among Americans who hear podcasts at least weekly (an estimated 27-million people), only 14% are satisfied with just one program. Fifteen percent listen to 11 or more shows each week, and 64% listen to at least three programs.

infinite dial 2015 - podcasts number of shows

No podcast story is complete these days without mention of Serial, and Edison threw in a question to measure awareness of the hit public radio Internet show. Ten percent of respondents have heard of it, and three percent have listened to it.

Brad Hill