Podcasting now takes up over one third of time spent with spoken word audio in the US

Edison and NPR’s new research shows continuous growth in podcasting

Podcasting has hit another all-time high in the US, now accounting for one third of the time that listeners spend tuning into spoken word audio, according to a new study.

Edison Research and NPR published their fifth-annual Spoken Word Audio Report (I.E. all non-musical audio content) which looks at the consumption habits of listeners. Data used in the study is derived from Edison Research’s Share of Ear which used a sample size of 4193 listeners in the US aged 13 and above. 

Between 2014 and 2023, podcasting has seen a significant increase in popularity, growing from 13% of time spent with spoken word audio to 36% during that period. In comparison, AM/FM radio decreased in popularity over the same period, going down from 78% to 44%. The report also shows that podcasts are most commonly listened to at work and at home while AM/FM dominates with in-car listening. 

"Podcasting now accounts for over one-third of the time spent with spoken word audio,” said Edison Research vice president Megan Lazovick. “The cultural shift to digital certainly benefits this space, or perhaps, it's vice versa - the growing enthusiasm for podcasting is shifting the culture digital. Either way - podcast listening continues to grow.”

As of 2023, 64% of the US population said they have listened to a podcast at some point in their lives which is a 2% increase year on year - according to Edison’s Infinite Dial report. Podcasts are more popular with Gen Z listeners as the 2022 Spoken Word Audio Report revealed that 78% of respondents aged 13-24 have listened to a podcast compared to 55% of respondents aged 35 and above.

Spoken Word Audio overall is continuing to increase with nearly half (48%) of the population now listening daily and more people are listening at home than in the car or at work, according to the report. Spotify’s latest fan study which released yesterday showed that more listeners are tuning into video podcasts in the evenings at home which could be an opportunity for podcasters that want to experiment with this format and create content that is catered for “leaned-in listening”. 

"Each year we keep a close eye on the number of people who are listening and the amount of time spent with Spoken Word Audio,” said NPM vice president of sponsorship marketing Lamar Johnson. “We're happy to see that for 2023, more people than ever are listening and they are spending even more time with Spoken Word, providing a powerful opportunity for brands looking to expand and engage their audience.”