A survey from Ofcom has thrown up some revealing statistics about podcast listening in the UK, some of which can offer useful insights to podcasters.
The data from the communications regulator – gathered from March 24-30 this year by market research company Yonder – suggests that a quarter of the UK population aged 16 or over now consider themselves to be regular listeners to podcasts. This is compared to 39% who reported to be regular listeners to speech-based radio, which is perhaps a sign of the newer format beginning to close the gap on the more traditional medium.
Where the numbers really begin to sing, however, is when narrowing down by age. For example, the number of regular podcast listeners jumps up to 40% among those aged 16-34, compared to just 26% of that age group who are regular listeners to speech-based radio.
The research indicated that radio is one of the biggest losers to the rise in podcast listening, with 27% of regular podcast listeners reporting that they listen to less radio. However, 31% - the largest section – reported that they listen less to their personal music collection as a result of their increase in podcast consumption.
The survey also delved deeply into listener habits, which may give podcasters a better idea of how to cater their content to their listeners. For example, of those who listen at least once a month, 40% said they listen to podcasts while walking, which is a similar number to those who reported listening to their personal digital music collection while walking (41%) and much higher than audiobooks (28%).
A similar figure, 41%, reported that they listen to podcasts while doing housework, which is higher than speech-based radio at 38%. And 32% listen at bedtime/before going to sleep, with only Audiobooks coming in higher at 39%.
Naturally, the percentage of people who listen to podcasts when travelling in a car is lower when compared to the 46% for speech-based radio, but at 27% it is not insignificant – and with recent innovations such as Spotify’s Car Thing, this could be set to rise.
Further figures that could interest podcast creators are that 45% said they have listened to other podcasts or audio recommended at the end of a podcast and 22% have discussed a podcast they have listened to on social media. Almost a third (31%) reported that social media is where they find out about new podcasts, compared to 26% by word of mouth from friends and family.
There appears to be a fair bit of work to be done to publicise the medium in general, however. Of those who reported that they do not listen to podcasts, 25% said they do not know how to access them and 23% reported that they do not know what they are.