More than one-sixth (17%) of the US population listens to podcasts on a weekly basis, and it seems that weekly podcast listeners are tuning in more often than they used to. Indeed, 43% could be classified as heavy listeners (spending at least 6 hours per week listening), compared to 36% last year, according to a Westwood One study.
The results of the survey – fielded among 600 adult weekly podcast listeners – indicate that while the podcast audience skews towards men and Millennials, other demographics are catching up in listening time.
This year Gen X listeners, ages 35-49, reported spending 7.2 hours per week tuning in to podcasts. Not only did that rival the time spent by Millennial listeners (7.4 hours), but it also represented a 22% increase from last year’s estimated time spent (5.9 hours).
Women also upped their listening time, by 20%, to 5.5 hours per week. That still trails male listeners (7.6 hours), but men didn’t increase their amount of time spent with podcasts much from the previous year.
This year respondents said they would consider 4 ads per 60-minute podcast to be an appropriate number, up from an average of 3.8 last year. That wasn’t a huge swing, but there were larger ones for shorter podcasts. For example, listeners this year would accept 3.3 ads per half-hour podcast, an 18% increase from last year’s 2.8 ads tolerated. And for 15-minute podcasts, listeners would be happy with 2.9 ads, a 26% increase from the 2.3 ads considered appropriate in last year’s survey.
Furthermore, this year’s survey found more positive attitudes to ads than last year:
- 53% of listeners agreed that most of the ads they hear on podcasts are engaging, up from 47% last year;
- 52% agreed that most of the ads they hear are relevant, up from 45%;
- 53% agreed that they like most of the ads they hear on podcasts, up from 44%; and
- 49% said they go out of their way to support brands that advertise on their favorite podcasts, up from 40% last year.