do you listen to podcasts?

do you listen to podcasts?

View Poll Results: do you listen to podcasts?

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  • gen z...yes

    3 23.08%
  • gen z: no

    0 0%
  • gen y: yes

    6 46.15%
  • gen y: no

    3 23.08%
  • gen x: yes

    0 0%
  • gen x: no

    0 0%
  • baby boomers: yes

    0 0%
  • baby boomers: no

    1 7.69%
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This is a discussion on do you listen to podcasts? within the Trends Forum forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; The 5 Key 2016 Podcast Statistics by Jay Baer Editor’s Note: This post is one of Convince & Convert’s ...

  1. #1

    do you listen to podcasts? The 5 Key 2016 Podcast Statistics

    by Jay Baer

    Editor’s Note: This post is one of Convince & Convert’s Top 10 Posts of 2016.

    My good friends at Edison Research handled the data gathering for my new book, Hug Your Haters, and we discovered that customer service is being massively disrupted.
    Now the Edison team is back with a new edition of their annual Infinite Dial research (they partner with Triton on it) and they’ve found another disruptive force…..podcasting.

    Edison first waived the flag on the explosive growth of podcasts in last year’s Infinite Dial study, but their new, 2016 podcast statistics show that momentum is building for the medium.

    To read all of the Infinite Dial findings (I very much recommend you do so) go here. The report is bursting with fascinating statistics, and not just about podcasts but also about online radio, streaming, social media, and beyond.

    But considering we produce six podcasts for marketers and businesspeople here at Convince & Convert Media (and we’re starting to produce more and more shows for corporate clients, too) the podcast statistics nestled in The Infinite Dial are of particular interest. Here are the five most important data points to understand.

    1. Podcast Listening Grew 23% Between 2015 and 201619

    (highlight to tweet)
    21% of Americans ages 12 and up have listened to a podcast in the past month. That is up from 17% in 2015. Monthly podcast listenership has increased 75% since 2013.

    2. The Podcast Audience Is Bigger Than You Think
    To provide some context for what 21% of the entire country represents, 13% of the USA listens to Spotify monthly, and 21% of the country uses Twitter.

    The same number of Americans listen to podcasts and use Twitter. (highlight to tweet)

    The podcast audience is 57 million Americans in total. And while Twitter has more members than that (many more, actually) the research shows their active user base is on-par with the overall podcast audience.

    3. Podcast Growth is Being Driven by Mobility

    The rise in podcast consumption over the past two years correlates with an even larger shift in HOW podcasts are consumed. Circa 2014, most podcasts were being listened to on a computer, which restricts consumption windows.

    In 2016 it’s a much different story:

    64% of podcasts are being listened to on a smartphone or tablet. (highlight to tweet)

    Listeners gravitating toward podcasts on the go opens up many more opportunities for consumption, including in the car, at the gym, and other computer-free environments.

    4. Five Podcasts Per Week is the Magic Number

    Even among regular listeners, the appetite for podcast consumption has some practical limits.

    Weekly podcast listeners consume five shows per week on average (highlight to tweet)

    Only my observation, not in the Infinite Dial research, but I find it interesting that five shows is the average given that most people have five days worth of in-car commutes, and many gym members work out five times per week.

    To illuminate this podcast statistic slightly more, 69% of weekly podcast listeners consume five shows or fewer. This has important consequences for podcast producers, as new podcasts being launched today may need to steal listeners from older shows, the same way that new blogs poach readers from blogs that have been around longer.

    Yes, the continued growth in consumption overall provides opportunities, but from my perspective the growth in new podcast launches is outpacing adoption by new listeners.

    5. Podcasts Need to Age Up to Break Through

    Certainly, there is continued room for growth in podcast consumption among younger Americans.

    One in four Americans ages 12-54 listened to a podcast last month. (highlight to tweet)

    But to really break through and become a major part of the media landscape, podcasts must become a habit for older Americans. Just 11% of Americans 55+ listen to podcasts monthly.

    And it’s not really a surprise, as finding, downloading and subscribing to podcasts requires a fair amount of technology sophistication. There are no default podcast listening devices or software, nor is there an approachable podcast directory (iTunes is a hot mess at podcast discovery, which is why I launched last year).

    I am hopeful that new home-automation technology like Amazon Echo will become widely adopted (I love mine) and open up podcasts to a whole new audience, since you can easily listen to podcasts on that device.

    And even the name – podcasts – is something less than approachable. It’s a takeoff on broadcast that uses “pod” because the iPod was all the rage back in the day. I’m not sure I’m ready to go there for our own shows just yet, but I believe the industry (such as it is) needs to rebrand around “on-demand radio” or somesuch to make it both more clear what podcasting IS, and less nerdy for the next group of potential listeners.

    Please do grab the entire Infinite Dial study. I’ve just given you a tiny taste with these 2016 podcast statistics. There’s a lot more you’ll enjoy.

  2. #2 So, Like, Why Are We So Obsessed with Podcasts Right Now?

    James Wolcott

    In last month’s column, I squeezed America’s heart with a poignant account of how there’s just too much good TV to keep up with these days. No matter how hard one grips the arms of the speeding treadmill, the view queue just keeps growing and, oh, the futility. And now I have a similar lament to unbosom, if that image doesn’t make you shriek: the equal overwhelmingness of the podcast explosion, all those iTunes subscriptions extending unto death. It seemed only a few wispy years ago that in the future everybody of relative sentience would have their own blog, a personal soapbox or public diary dotting the information superhighway. (This was back in those optimistic days before the superhighway became a garbage run.) Blogs bubbled out of the tar pits of the Internet in the peeping dawn of the new millennium, a democratic upsurge that would enable every caliber and denomination of writer to live the dream of being his or her own pamphleteer, creating a global village of town criers, a cacophonous shout.

    Today the shouting is mostly a distant growl. Energies that formerly drove current-events blogging have been largely rerouted into Facebook posts, Twitter buckshot, or, on the pro level, “hot takes” that make an immediate splat and drive traffic. And for those who find writing an outmoded activity, like taking up the banjo, there’s Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and similar galleries for eye-grazers. But the screen devices that enslaved our gaze and bathed it in artificial moonlight also gave birth to an audio renaissance—the rise of the podcast.

    Podcasts are essentially radio on the installment plan, a return to the intimacy, wombed shadows, and pregnant implications of words, sounds, and silences in the theater of the mind. As commercial radio trashed itself with too many commercials, demographic narrowing (in many markets, pitching to the Aging Angry White Male), and the incessant pandering of the religious/right-wing tom-tom drums, podcasts redeemed the medium by restoring its lost creative promise. Instead of peddling itself to demographic markets, it appealed to interests, enthusiasms, and the oral tradition of storytelling, and for every interest there’s a flock of podcasts vying for attention. (And business has noticed. The podcast network Gimlet Media raised $6 million in its most recent fund-raising round, for a reported valuation of $50 million. Shannon Bond reported in the Financial Times, “The company expects to take in more than $2m in advertising sales this year from clients including Ford and Microsoft. It is also developing branded podcasts for advertisers, an area of increasing interest to marketers and to podcast producers.”)

    My own pod diet is eclectic. I subscribe to: The Norman Mailer Society Podcast, which presents archival selections from his wooly-bully exploits; a podcast devoted to The Art of Manliness (because, well, you know how it is); *Vanity Fair’*s Oscar-themed Little Gold Men podcast (got to support the team); You Must Remember This, the podcast hosted by Karina Longworth that peels the history of Hollywood; podcasts devoted to the Alexander technique and radio astronomy; Marc Maron’s WTF, Bret Easton Ellis’s eponymous podcast, Bill Simmons’s sports podcast; and so many more, which I hope someday to have time to listen to, though who am I kidding? I am still several episodes tardy with Marc Maron’s podcast, and it is Maron who gave podcasting the authentic thumbprint it has today.

    The story of Marc Maron’s climb from career doldrums and psycho-pharmacological burnout to buckskin pioneer of personal podcasting has been oft told, as befits a folk legend that inspired a nation. It is 2009. Maron’s stand-up-comedy career is on the luggage carousel to nowheresville. Air America, the liberal radio network not long for this world, has canceled his lunch-break program, having earlier canceled his morning show with Mark Riley. He’s going through a public, war-torn divorce, lacing his stand-up-comedy performances with psychodrama. Like a fanatic, he neglects to shave closely. But he refuses to throw in the gym towel. Using his Air America key card like a spy, he sneaks in and records the first episodes of a podcast called WTF (for “What the Fuck”). Not long after, he moves to California and hosts the ramshackle show from his ramshackle garage, beginning each installment with a status-update monologue about his cats, his storm-tossed love life, and the chafing irritations of daily existence before moving on to the main course with his fellow comics, sharing war stories and commiserating about cheesy club owners, hecklers they have left for dead, that time Marc was a dick to them in Boston, and life on the road in the Twilight Zone of groupies, pizza cartons, and unspeakable laundry. These mutual meditations weren’t like the canned segments on late-night talk shows; they were and remain confessionals, healing exercises, bonding experiences, one-on-one Gestalt therapy sessions, and WTF doesn’t so much find an audience as its audience finds something it didn’t know it was looking for. Maron’s garage—nicknamed “the Cat Ranch”—becomes the log cabin of podcast lore, and the show itself a modern American institution, tricked up into a sitcom now heading into its third horny season on IFC.

    Accruing prestige, Maron has graduated from interviewing his fellow combatants in the comedy game to hosting President Barack Obama at the Cat Ranch and finally holding a summit conference with Lorne Michaels, the producer of Saturday Night Live, who has loomed like the Holy Ghost in Maron’s showbiz theology, the opaque father who had spurned him. (Maron had been rejected as a cast member for S.N.L., a nagging sore spot on his pride. It became a running theme on WTF that whenever he had a current or former S.N.L. performer on he couldn’t resist asking, “So what’s Lorne like? Did you and Lorne get along?”) An inspiration to every comic who faced the firing squad of open-mike night, Maron’s WTF has begotten a multitude of other entertainer podcasts (David Steinberg, whose stand-up career goes all the way back to the Johnson presidency), and soon it will become a challenge to think of a notable who doesn’t have a podcast. (Steinberg’s first guest was comic Gilbert Gottfried, who hosts his own show on the same podcast network.) Even multi-platformers have started podcasts: the writer-director-actor Lena Dunham now hosts Women of the Hour, produced by BuzzFeed, a needed antidote to the prevailing guyness of so much pod-dom.

    Tom Wolfe memorably observed at the beginning of The Painted Word that one doesn’t so much read the Sunday edition of The New York Times as slip into “that great public bath, that vat, that spa, that regional physiotherapy tank,” a luxurious, voluminous soak. Podcasts can induce the same immersive, time-suspended float. When the guest or guests are compelling and the conversation covers the complete drum kit, as with Maron’s now classic Louis CK parley or Ellis’s excursions with novelist-screenwriter-director Michael Tolkin and novelist David Shields (just about the only honest inside-baseball literary conversation I’ve heard since everyone signed up for sincerity), the hands of the clock disappear and I feel as if I’ve enjoyed an actual authentic secondhand human experience.

    But the garrulous informality of podcasts does strain listener stamina. An episode of The Joe Rogan Experience can stretch to more than three hours, and even once compelling shows have fallen by the wayside in my queue after succumbing to verbosity and gassy bloat. You end up listening for so long that you forget what you were listening to. Which is never a problem with the trimmer BBC Radio 4 podcasts on my download list (Saturday Review, Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time, Thinking Allowed) or Elvis Mitchell’s The Treatment, the latter’s half-hour format fostering a smooth-jazz concision and brisk but unrushed tempo that conjures a nocturnal mood no matter what the hour is. Pegged to the release of Grandma and the last season of Justified, the sit-down with actor Sam Elliott achieved a laconic comic rapport that made it sound as if he and Elvis were enjoying a fine mellow puff together in the cigar lounge. (In the spurious interest of disclosure, I should note that Elvis and I are longtime friends—we rode with Pancho Villa together—and I have been a guest on The Treatment, so there.)

    The Treatment, though originating from Public Radio’s KCRW, would never be mistaken for any other intellectual confection from the chipmunk academy that dominates the podcast sphere. In a knockout article for The New York Times, Teddy Wayne identified and dissected the omnipresence of “the NPR voice,” that self-consciously offhand microphone intimacy where the ellipsis-dot pauses, wry curlicues of irony, and indecisive stammers project collegial sincerity instead of the traditional vocal-god authority of postwar radio announcers or former fashion plates of enunciation such as William F. Buckley Jr. The week that I am writing this, 6 out of the top 10 podcast episodes on iTunes originate from NPR, and one of the sensations of the season is a science-fiction series called The Message, which mimics the vocal mannerisms and journalistic devices of NPR’s wildly successful Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig, as it investigates an extraterrestrial transmission that carries a mummy’s curse.

    Part of the fun of The Message is how it embeds the ingenuous tics of NPR scoutmasters inside the hull of old-fashioned X Minus One radio melodrama. Wayne traces the pervasive appeal of the NPR voice to the popularity of NPR personalities such as Susan Stamberg and Ira Glass, with a splash of Carrie Bradshaw’s voice-overs on Sex and the City. He isn’t wrong, but to my ear the “NPR voice” is the audio grandchild of *The New Yorker’*s house style, back when the “Talk of the Town” section had a distinctive voice and that voice was the craftwork of E. B. White, “who always seemed to be hiding behind two front initials and a colorless last name,” as the critic Wilfrid Sheed observed. The “NPR voice” added coy inflections and Frappuccino foam to the house style that White built, and it’s proved equally spry, versatile, and civic-spirited. It’s also become a shtick, proving yet again that imitation is the sincerest form of self-flattery.

  3. #3

    "Yes, as I do listen to Welcome to Night Vale"
    ae1905 thanked this post.

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  5. #4

    Yes sometimes
    ae1905 thanked this post.

  6. #5

    Yes, although unless it's particularly interesting I tend to listen to fragments on youtube instead because many podcasts are 2-3 hours or even longer, which can be a bit much for one sitting IMO.
    ae1905 thanked this post.

  7. #6
  8. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephalonimbus View Post
    Yes, although unless it's particularly interesting I tend to listen to fragments on youtube instead because many podcasts are 2-3 hours or even longer, which can be a bit much for one sitting IMO.
    how do you quickly find the fragment you want to watch?

    one thing podcasts need to do is provide quick links to each topic in each podcast, like a table of contents...the only podcast I know of that does this is the bill simmons podcast...everyone needs to follow his example

  9. #8

    I do. I listen to the old English podcasts of Ricky Gervais, Karl Pilkington, and Stephen Merchant. I usually fall asleep to them.

    Same with gaming channels although I don't know if they're necessarily podcasts, more videos.

    ae1905 thanked this post.

  10. #9

    Quote Originally Posted by ae1905 View Post
    how do you quickly find the fragment you want to watch?
    I don't, really... things just show up in my recommended feed and I watch whatever piques my interest. It's almost never something I plan to do.

  11. #10

    Sorry I meant to hit generation Y.
    ae1905 thanked this post.

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