Westwood One’s Podcast Download -- Fall 2018 Puts Spotlight on Habitual Listeners

By Westwood One Archives
Cover image for  article: Westwood One’s Podcast Download -- Fall 2018 Puts Spotlight on Habitual Listeners

Last Thursday, New York City hosted the fourth annual Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Podcast Upfront, an event where advertisers, media companies and content creators gather to create new marketing partnerships.  America’s largest audio network, Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One, was on hand to reveal upcoming programming announcements and insights.

Ahead of the event, Westwood One released its second annual Westwood One’s Podcast Download - Fall 2018 Report and accompanying infographic.  This report is exclusively available to download on WestwoodOnePodcasts.com.  Working with MARU/Matchbox and Vision Critical, the nationally recognized leader in consumer research, the second installment of the study answers three questions about the habitual or “heavy” podcast listener for marketers.

Who are they?

This type of information is invaluable to advertisers, especially those who are toying with entering into the world of podcast advertising for the first time. Advertiser Perceptions routinely takes the temperature of marketers and agencies to uncover patterns in advertisement sentiment.  Their latest data shows that more than two-thirds of advertising media decision makers have discussed advertising in podcasts.  Thirty-six percent are likely to actually advertise in podcasts in the next six months.

To make smart, effective decisions, advertisers need to be armed with a strong understanding of who habitual listeners are and what makes them tick.  Here’s the profile: They’re big podcast fans, that much is clear, and they spend over six hours per week listening.  That’s a lot of time, but are the habitual listeners sizable enough to be worthy of the attention?  As it turns out, yes.  Heavy podcast listening is on the rise.  Since the first release of this report in July 2017, the number of heavy podcast listeners increased 19%.  Up from 36% last year, heavy listeners who consume more than six hours per week now account for nearly half of all weekly podcast listeners.  That’s a substantial chunk of dedicated fans who aren’t just casually tuning in.

Females are listening more than ever before.  Growth in weekly time spent listening among women is six times the growth among men compared to lastyear.  Their appetite for podcast consumption is growing.  In just one year, the number of podcasts downloaded among weekly female listeners was up +25% as well as the number of podcasts listened to, up +27% from 2017.

Demographically, heavy female podcast listeners are a younger group with a healthy income.  Most are married and 72% of them have children, a key insight when considering the +29% growth in listening to family-oriented podcasts over the last year.

These insights have informed the programming announcement of Westwood One’s just-launched new podcast network targeting female listeners, The Empow(h)er Podcast Network.  Featuring original podcasts such as Run Like a Girl; Suze Orman's Women & Money Show; Straight Talk with Ross Mathews and Pop Talk with Ross Mathews; Women Want to Hear Women with Elaina Smith; Bad Mommas with Jayde; 40 Weeks with Jayde Donovan; the first-ever Westwood One Pitch Pod discovery, BLK + In Grad School, and a new show in partnership with NBC Sports Radio called On Her Turf.  The network is about empowering women to use their voice, have fun and be inspired.

What do they listen to?

Family-oriented podcasts aren’t the only types of content seeing increased interest.  For women, comedy and pop culture are podcast magnets.  Fifty-two percent of weekly female podcast listeners regularly listen to comedy podcasts. Half of them connect with the entertainment world through pop-culture content.

Other content types that round out the top five preferences for weekly female podcast listeners include news and current events, storytelling dramas and music. Knowing the listener and content environments they are most attracted to gives advertisers key clues in how to effectively tailor their messages.

How are they listening?

The on-demand nature of podcast listening is amplified with heavy listeners.  Fifty-two percent of them listen to a podcast right after downloading.  Immediacy is key.  The heavy podcast listener uses a variety of devices to consume their content.  Sixty-four percent use a laptop computer to listen.  Sixty-one percent are reaching for their iPhone or Android phone.

Voice activated technology is also a magnet for heavy podcast listeners with growth in adoption surging +13% from 39% in 2017 to 44% in the latest survey. Women and Boomers are particular proponents of the technology.  Podcast content needs to be at their fingertips and at their smart speakers for heavy podcast listeners.  They’re early adopters of technology who are leading the charge in advancing usage.

Advertisers need the download on this covetable group of consumers before they can make effective media decisions.  Visit WestwoodOnePodcasts.com to download Westwood One’s Podcast Download -- Fall 2018.

Photo credit: Igor Starkov/Unsplash

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