September 10, 2015

Report: Westwood One Podcast Study Unveiled


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“State of American Podcasting,” a new study from Westwood One, sheds light on the audience for podcast programming in advance of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s podcast upfront showcase on Thursday, reports Ad Age‘s Felicia Greiff. The event features presentations from ESPN, AdLarge, Midroll, NPR, Panoply, Podtrac and WNYC and will offer a preview on the latest in podcast programming.

Greiff said Westwood One used several sources including an Ipsos custom study from last month and Edison’s “Share of Ear” quarterly study. Then the network had Edison create a cross-tabulation of 500 podcast listeners using three recent studies. This included the audio source, time of day, demographic profile, devices used to listen and types of content used by consumers.

“Podcasting data has mostly been limited to iTunes downloads, which don’t provide answers to the most basic questions about listeners,” Westwood One CMO Pierre Bouvard said. He added that the point of the study was to answer, “How many, how often and how long.”

“In the history of digital media, I don’t think there has ever been a new digital platform that has so little audience data,” Bouvard added. “It causes quite a bit of consternation among everyone in the ecosystem.”

The study found that the median age of podcast listeners is 30, versus 45 for broadcast radio and 57 for broadcast television networks. These listeners are employed, educated and have more children in the household compared to the total U.S. sample. In fact, 61% of podcast listeners work part or fulltime, and 55% have some college education or are college graduates.

Half of total time spent listening to podcasts occurs on mobile phones, followed by one-third on computers. In contrast, half of total audio consumption time occurs on AM/FM devices. Middays (29%) and nights (29%) are podcasting “primetime,” while afternoons pulled 20% and mornings 17%. Personalities and talk shows are the leading content, accounting for 66% of total podcast listening, followed by news podcasts with 22%.