Key Take-Aways From Edison Research’s ‘The Podcast Consumer 2017’

Key Take-Aways From Edison Research’s ‘The Podcast Consumer 2017’

Here we are again…another year in the books and the latest report out from Edison Research highlights some exciting data for the Podcast Industry. Releasing its annual “Podcast Consumer 2017′, the report highlights podcast consumption habits and data from the ‘Infinite Dial 2017 study.

Podcasting continues to rise, with monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% percent year over year. But looking at podcast listenership in over a 4-year snapshot, it has doubled since 2013! #HUGE

Here are the cliff notes directly from the report & our thoughts:

Podcasting continues to rise, with Monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% percent year over year

              Why this matters? 

As other traditional mediums struggle for growth, the trajectory of podcasting is headed in the right direction. We can’t discount the fact that while other traditional mediums (print & radio) are stable or declining, the podcasting industry is no doubt on the rise. Most importantly, the percentage of listenership has doubled over the last 4 years.


The audience for podcasts continues to be predominately 18-54, and leans slightly male.

              Why this matters? 

People inherently perceive that the podcast audience is super young. But, a deep dive into the numbers show that it actually is rather balanced. Ages 18-34  make up 44% of the demo while Ages 25-54 account for 33%. Bottom line, 77% of podcast listeners are ages 12-54…a prime and ripe target for advertisers.


Clicking on a podcast to listen to it immediately (either streamed or via progressive download) is the dominant paradigm for listening, though 27% do subscribe to podcasts.

Why this matters? 

62% listen immediately. A powerful statistic. When people see something they want, they are inclined to click and listen immediately. This mindset bodes well for, as we provide a hub to immediately test drive a podcast, with one click. Yes, more experienced podcast listeners are subscribing to a show, but that number is only at 27%.


Subscribers tend to have been podcast consumers for longer than non-subscribers, consume more podcasts, and are more likely to use their smartphone as their primary podcast player.

            Why this matters? 

No real surprise here when diving deeper into the 27% that subscribe to a podcast. Obviously, experienced users are more comfortable using the medium, so they would tend to be more inclined to subscribe. And yes, they understand how to navigate their smartphones, hence it’s the primary point of discovery for those that have been consumers of the medium longer. Nonetheless, the stat that still peaks my interest is the fact that 31% still use a computer to listen. Bottom line, the desktop or laptop is NOT DEAD!


While Home continues to be the most often named location for podcast listening, the vehicle is a strong second.

This statistic caused a ruckus within the industry, but only because people weren’t really grasping what the stat tells literally tells us. The question was: Have you ever listened to a podcast at home, in a car/truck, walking around, at work, at the gym, or riding public transportation? 82% said at home while 65% said in a car or truck. Yes, podcasting is a commuters dream, but remember, if you’re gardening, working in your garage, or making dinner in your kitchen, you still can listen to a podcast. So…the ‘at home’ statistic didn’t surprise me the way that it did many in the industry.


Most podcast consumers listen to most of the podcast episodes they download, and the vast majority listen to at least most of each episode.

Why this matters? 

Diving into the completion rate after downloading a podcast, the numbers really look great! 42% listen to the entire podcast episode while 44% listen to most of the podcast. That’s a whopping 86% who listen to all or most of the podcast…a favorable story to tell advertisers.


Podcasts are the number one audio source by time of consumption among podcast listeners

Why this matters? 

I love this statistic. It says that once you become an active and engaged podcast listener, you’d rather turn to a podcast rather than listen to the radio…let alone ‘owned music’, and/or stream any other audio. This is HUGE to me…especially as consumption habits evolve. Basically, if we put podcasting in the hands of the consumer, it will stick. 30% of Podcast listeners turn to podcasts as their primary source of time spent listening, followed by 25% AM/FM Radio, and then 19% Streamed Audio. Again, for podcast listeners, it’s their first choice of consumption, and they do it the longest.


On the smartphone, podcasting’s Share of Ear® is tied with AM/FM content, and leads AM/FM among 13-34 year olds.

Why this matters? 

Another fabulous statistic for the podcast industry, but not surprising, as AM/FM Radio is pivoting to be a ‘streaming audio’ play for the younger demo. Diving deeper here, 45% of ages 13-34 spent time listening to streaming audio on their smartphones. While this statistic is nearly six times as many that listen to podcasts on their smartphone (8% of this demo), it demonstrates that podcasts have surpassed the AM/FM Radio…probably for good. Chew on that statistic.

A Final Thought

I love how the report summed up everything, by saying:

Fix discovery, yes – but let’s not forget to ‘push’ in a ‘pull’ world!

Couldn’t agree more….and is trying to attack the discovery issue head on. It will take the industry to coalesce around itself to push out discovery more aggressively…in a clear and concise way. Good luck with that.

EDITORIAL NOTE: This report will be available in our PODCAST BUSINESS CENTER later this week, along with many other industry relevant reports…all located for your convenience in one place.  Or you can view The Podcast Consumer 2017 directly HERE, at Edison Research.