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Podcast Audiences Continue to Grow in US


The Podcast medium continue to grow as a means for exploring views and getting news, particularly among young adults.

Nearly one in 10 US adults downloaded or listened to a podcast in the last 30 days – a young, well educated, and highly successful audience that relies on both digital and traditional media.

Compared to the general US population (ages 18+), recent podcast users are engaged with their phones as sources of entertainment. They also rank high when it comes to their ability to influence other people, according to the most recent data (September 2016 to May 2017) from GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer®. View the full infographic .

Approximately 8.6% of US adults – roughly 21 million people – downloaded or listened to a podcast in the last 30 days, up from 7% a year ago. Among podcast users, 53% were college graduates, 45% held managerial/professional jobs, and 45% were between the ages of 18 and 34 – proportions well above the general population figures.

While the podcast group is very active on the Internet, they are also big readers of print magazines, with 22% placing in the heaviest reading quintile (slightly higher than the US average). Some 68% had visited a magazine website – and 69% a newspaper website or the electronic version of a newspaper – in the last 30 days.

Seven in ten (70%) podcast users consider their mobile phones as sources of entertainment, and about 36% would be willing to receive ads on their phones in exchange for lower monthly costs. In addition, 68% are interested in watching video clips on their mobile phones, and 21% say they would be willing to pay a monthly fee to watch live TV on them. (Note: Data in this paragraph come from the Fall 2016 GfK MRI release, covering September 2015 to November 2016.)

News websites are popular destinations for podcast users – including (visited by 32% of users), (32%), (22%) and (20%).

GfK MRI also found that 20% of podcast users are “Influentials,” meaning that they engaged in three or more of 11 public activities, from making a speech to running for political office. This is three times the incidence of Influentials in the total adult population (7%).

GfK MRI’s data shows that more than one in 10 (11%) podcast users is an active member of a group that tries to influence public policy or government; that is triple the proportion (3.7%) in the general population. Eighteen percent (18%) say they have attended a political rally, speech, or protest – making them 163% more likely than all adults (7%); and 24% have contacted a politician at the state, local or national level, versus 10% among all respondents.

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