The State of Podcasting: Is It All Hype?

by Paul McDonald | Aug 6, 2021 | Media

According to a Share of Ear report released in 2020, podcast listening represented 6% of all audio listening. That statistic by itself doesn’t seem very impressive. Yet, if you have an ear on the pulse of our current culture, podcasting seems to be the biggest thing in media right now. How much of this is hype and how much of this is truly seeing an emerging trend for the future of media?

In a 2014 report, podcast listening represented only 2% of all listening. So, in seven years that number has risen 300%! That’s a trend worth noting. As of April 2021, there were over two million podcasts in existence around the globe with approximately 48 million episodes available for listening. However, according to a June 2021 report, as of 2020, there were only 850,000 active podcasts with 30 million episodes in 100 languages.

And while 78% of the US population is familiar with the term “podcasting,” only 41% have listened to a podcast in the last month, and only 28% listen weekly. Finally, only 6% of the population consider themselves avid podcast fans. Interestingly, 65% of monthly podcast listeners have been listening for less than three years.

Now, here is where it gets really interesting. Nearly two-thirds of podcast listeners are younger than 45 years old, and almost 50% are younger than 34. Finally, almost one-fifth of listeners are 21 or under. Nearly two-thirds of Millennials and over half of GenZs say they use podcasts to learn about social issues, and nearly two-thirds of both groups feel that audio formats like podcasts are one of the greatest ways to tell stories. And 40% of Millennials and GenZs rank their trust in podcasts higher than in traditional media sources such as national TV news, newspapers, and radio.

Recently, the New York Times held its annual teen podcast contest, asking teens to create their own podcast on whatever topic they chose. Around 1,500 teens entered the contest. Of the 12 winners, four of the podcasts dealt with the subject of racism. One podcast was on internet “extremism.” Only one of the winning podcasts appeared to have a faith-based topic.

Podcast listeners are much more active on every social media channel. (94% are active on at least one channel vs. 81% for the entire population.) Podcast listeners are more likely to follow companies and brands on social media. And 69% agreed that podcast ads made them aware of new products or services.

Looking at revenue, as of December 2019, podcasting represented $1.1 billion worldwide in ad revenue. Compare that to radio at $42 billion, magazines at $60 billion, newspapers at $135 billion, and TV at $400 billion.

Podcasting is still very much in a nascent stage. But it is perceived to be a major player in the future of media. The statistics tell us that is a very real possibility, although it will take several years to become a reality. But the seed is planted. And it is growing fast.

If you want to become an influencer, especially reaching young minds with a biblical worldview, now is the time to start podcasting.

Let Infinity Concepts help you with all your podcasting needs.
CLICK HERE or call us today at 724-733-1200.

Paul McDonald
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