Podcast Statistics Worth Pondering

BY Jeff Cobb

Have you paid attention to recent podcast statistics? If not, now would be a good time to tune in.

photo podcast listener - podcast statistics

We recently published an episode of the Leading Learning podcast titled The Power of Podcasting. A big part of what prompted this episode was the release of the annual Infinite Dial report from Edison Research. Edison has been running a version of this report, which examines Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media, since 1998. In recent years, the rise of podcasting has been a central focus.

The numbers are compelling. Here are just few of podcast statistics reported by Edison:

112 million Americans have listened to a podcast. That number is up by 11 percent from last year and it represents roughly 40 percent of Americans over the age of 12.

67 million people listen to podcasts monthly and 42 million listen to them weekly.

Smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices are by far the most prevalent means of listening (65 percent)– but the Edison data makes it clear that, surprisingly, most people are actually listening to podcasts at home, in spite of listening on these mobile devices (52 percent). Many, of course, also listen while driving, exercising, and doing various other activities.

Another surprising statistic is that 85 percent of listeners listen to all or most of the podcast episodes they tune into.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just a trend among the young. The 25-54 age range actually overtook the 12-24 bracket in 2017. 31 percent of monthly listeners came from this older group versus 27 percent from the younger group.

It’s worth stressing at this point that the research conducted for The Infinite Dial is high-quality research. To arrive at the numbers above, 2000 telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. Interviews were 51% landline phones and 49% mobile phones.

All in all, the podcast statistics offered by the report are pretty compelling evidence that most organizations should give serious consideration to podcasting as part of their Value Ramp. They are easier than ever to produce and distribute, they reach people in places you might not otherwise reach them, and the Edison data suggests those people are actually listening.

We go into all of the above in more detail in the Leading Learning podcast episode on the power of podcasting. So, I encourage you to give that a listen. Whether you do or not, definitely spend some time pondering these podcast statistics and consider whether podcasting should be part of your organization’s future.


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