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Unpacking Podcasting's Growth Seen In Edison's Infinite Dial 2021 [S3E94]
Episode 9415th March 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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In 2016, 35 million Americans listened to podcasts weekly.

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In 2021, they've grown to 80 million.

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Today, I'll dig into that and other good news podcasting observations from Edison

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Research's Infinite Dial 2021 report.

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Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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Last week, Infinite Dial 2021 was released.

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That's Edison Research, Triton Digital, they team-up.

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They've been doing this for like forever.

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Well, since 1998, Edison has been researching and surveying Americans

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about their digital media consumption.

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And that, by the way, includes podcasting, which is why I'm interested.

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It tracks a lot more than just podcasting.

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But today, because us, we're going to focus in just on the podcasting elements.

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There will be a link in the episode details if you want to follow along.

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But it's a long ways into the report, like fifty pages into it.

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So you can wait till afterwards.

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Well, let me give you the highlights here.

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Right now, in 2021, there are, roughly speaking, US Americans, 222 million

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people familiar with podcasting.

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222 million.

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That's a big number.

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That's a streak that has continued since 2016.

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So definitely going up.

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This year, compared to last year, we saw a smaller percentage

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points gained than in prior years.

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Which might mean, and it probably does mean, I think means, we are

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at the top of the asymptotic curve.

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78% is the percentage points that we have right now.

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And look, we'll never get to a hundred.

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We'll get in the eighties, probably.

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Nineties, I don't know.

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We'll see how it goes.

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But also, let's not - remember this last year was weird.

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Yeah.

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I'll talk more about weirdness in just a moment.

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Also, 162 million people have listened to a podcast, not just aware that

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podcasting exists, but actually listened.

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162 million.

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Also, a streak that has continued this time since 2014.

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Again, slightly smaller percentage points gained this year versus last.

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We're at 57% now.

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And I don't know that we'll ever, I certainly know we'll

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never get to a hundred.

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I don't know what the top of the curve looks like, but also last year was weird.

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Remember that.

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116 million people listened to podcasts monthly.

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That's a streak that started in 2016, but got much steeper in 2019.

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Even with the weird year we had last year, we're now at 41%.

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41% of Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis.

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80 million listen weekly.

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That streak started in 2013, but also got much steeper

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starting in 2019, in 20, and 21.

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In fact, this year, compared to last, we had the second biggest gain in percentage

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points through that growth period.

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Second biggest gain, even with the weird last year.

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Now, 28% of Americans say they listen to podcasts on a weekly basis.

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Great news.

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But remember that still means 73% don't have the weekly habit.

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So we have some work to continue to do.

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Now to me, the most surprising thing I saw in the Infinite Dial 2021 report

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was the change in the demographics of monthly listening, the occasional

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podcast listener, if you will.

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Edison breaks the, when they present the survey to us, they break it up

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into three different buckets and the one in the middle, 35 to 54-year-olds,

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kind of an important demographic.

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They actually went down as far as looking at percentage points from 2019 to 2021.

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39 % of people say they listened monthly in that age bracket in 2021 where only 40%

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said they'd listened monthly last year.

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So that's a slight drop, but not a huge drop.

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But let's also remember that is the age bracket that is most likely to have

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had kids at home with them during the pandemic lockdown homeschooling stuff.

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So probably a little bit of a loss right there, just because of suddenly

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you're a full-time caregiver and a full-time teacher and you've got a job.

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So it's not surprising to me that number went down a bit.

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But that's the one in the middle.

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The edges are what's cool.

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55+, a demographic I am continuing to head towards, 55+ went from

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22% last year to 26% this year.

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That's a really big number.

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That's a big gain in 55+ people continue to listen, are

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listening now on a monthly basis.

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They continue to grow.

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Now, back in 2016, that 55+ bracket was basically 10 million people.

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2016, 55+, 10 million people listened to podcasts on a monthly basis.

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Now, 2021, 24 million.

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That's over 2x growth.

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That's huge.

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That's one end.

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The other end of the spectrum, 12 to 34, which is arguably too

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big of a bucket, but that's fine.

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They've been doing it for since '98 this way and it's fine.

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12-year-olds to 34-year-olds.

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You know, the kids, if you will, that bucket went from

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49% last year to 56% this year.

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So now we can finally say the majority of people under the age of 35 listen to

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podcasts, at least on a monthly basis.

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Looking at the raw numbers, 2016, 28 million 12 to 34-year-olds

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listened on a monthly basis.

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28 million in 2016, now 65 million.

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Wow.

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That's nearly 3x growth amongst the kids, 2016 to 2021.

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Even though, let's go back to the people in the middle, the people

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who are 35 to 54, the responsible adults out there, if you will.

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Even with that small dip we saw, one percentage point dip, the total size of

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the audience almost doubled - 19 million in 2016 now at 34 million in 2021.

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So what's all this mean?

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Well, clearly the podcasting audience is there and it is growing.

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The weekly numbers are huge right now.

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So that means we're making inroads.

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We're bringing people from occasional listening to weekly

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listening, and that's huge.

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So if there's a message here, it's this - don't stop.

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Keep focusing on those people who are brand new to podcasting.

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There are a lot of them out there.

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There's still, you know, almost half the population doesn't listen at all.

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And 73% don't listen on a regular basis.

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So assume that's who you're talking to.

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Assume the person you're talking to right now has never listened or at

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least not enough, they have no habit and your show will be the one that

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makes the podcast habit for them.

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You're going to make them part of your routine.

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That's your job for the rest of the year.

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Think about those people and make them, make your show give them

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the podcast listening habits.

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Now, as I said, there's a link to the report in the episode details.

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So please share this episode with that link along with your

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friends to give them my analysis.

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That might help them understand the opportunities in podcasting.

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And if you loved what I had to say, please go to buymeacoffee.com/evoterra,

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and yeah, buy me a virtual coffee.

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That's always nice.

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I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.