The audio landscape is exploding, and over the last two years there has been huge growth across various audio categories including a 2500 percent growth in smart speaker ownership and more than 48 percent increase in podcast listening, according to the Edison Infinite Dial 2019 study.
Ipsos too recently released a new research study commissioned by iHeartMedia — “Day in the life Audio Journey” — demonstrating that consumer interest in audio is now at an all-time high, with listeners enjoying more audio content across a vast array of platforms including broadcast radio, digital streaming, podcasts and smart speakers.
The in-depth multi-platform study explores daily audio usage and habits of Americans ranging from 13 to 64 years old and captures when, where and how these various generations are consuming their favorite audio.
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The study highlights that radio continues to reach more people than any other media both daily and weekly. On a weekly basis, broadcast radio reaches 85 percent of consumers, surpassing all other audio channels including social media (68 percent) and live television (56 percent). The research also showed that radio has two times the daily listening of streaming services, reaching 69 percent of consumers compared to streaming music’s 34 percent.
“Audio is hot right now and a must for marketers looking to reach increasingly elusive and fractured audiences. If you look at the data, it’s undeniable that consumers are listening more and watching less and this study outlines when, where and why,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. “Contrary to some misperceptions, it shows we are living in an audio-first world by drilling down a more granular overview of audio listenership and showing what a day-in-the-life of the average listener is like when it comes to media consumption.”
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Although all ages enjoy listening to audio and spend an average of 17.2 hours a week with their favorite broadcast radio stations, streaming music service, podcasts and more, the study found that Millennials and Gen Z listen the most, spending more than 18 hours each week and 2.6 hours or more each day listening to audio. These numbers, along with social media’s continued popularity, reflect consumers’ need for live, human connections.
“Radio has long been a trusted companion for people of all ages so it’s no surprise that it continues to be the premier destination when people want to connect with others and their community,” said Gayle Troberman, CMO of iHeartMedia. “The only difference now versus decades ago is that today people can enjoy that connection anywhere they are across a variety of platforms.”
The study also explores where and when people listen and shows that audio listening is most often done on-the-go, with 65 percent done outside the home and most often in the car, with radio accounting for 65 percent of in-vehicle audio listening. Radio also serves as a companion throughout the day; it leads media use 70 percent of waking hours and is the most used audio platform all day, and at all hours. The research additionally shows that the rise of smart speakers has made radio more prominent than ever in the home, uncovering that homes with smart speakers have spent 47 percent more time listening to radio during prime hours (8-10pm) than those listeners without.
Consumers are also embracing podcasts, with listening growing tremendously especially among younger Millennials and Gen Z. Compared to just two years ago, podcast listening is up 48 percent with people aged 12–24, according to a separate Edison Infinite Dial 2019 study.
iHeartMedia’s study further found that podcasts now represent almost 10 percent of audio listening among Millennials and that podcast listeners are also radio listeners, with 82 percent also listening to radio on a weekly basis. In addition, radio continues to be the #1 audio choice for Gen Z. and podcasts are replacing online video as a daytime escape for many during work and school.
The study, conducted by Ipsos for iHeartMedia in March 2019, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 6,016 consumers aged 13–64 who listen to 1+ audio platform at least once a week.