Bridge Ratings Industry Update - The Podcasting Outlook


For Immediate Release

Updated Wednesday June 13, 2006

Survey Update: Podcast Listeners 35+Increasing

Based on interviews with radio listeners in ten national markets*, Bridge Ratings released today its updated analysis of podcast use. Phone interviews were conducted with members of the Bridge Ratings Podcast Panel to measure their use of podcasts over time. This is an on-going study of podcast users and not the general population.

This study examined the general podcast consumer universe ages 15-64 with special attention to News/Talk and Talk radio.

As depicted in the following chart, podcast listening is expanding upon its early demographic and psychographic appeal. Adults 35+ in this sample were downloading more podcasts per month and listening longer than in the previous analysis of this target group late 2006.

We're now projecting that 7 million Americans download and listen to podcasts on a weekly basis with an additional 21.4 million who, on occasion in a typical month listen to a minimum of 4 podcasts.

With current growth trends and increasing interest among middle-Americans, Bridge Ratings is projecting almost 20 million weekly podcast listeners by 2010. The tremendous growth we're seeing is directly linked to the marketing, branding and promotion of podcasts by terrestrial radio.

This study concentrates on listeners who download and listen frequently (weekly) and those who listen on occasion (minimum 4 times per month).

Upper Demographics

The trend among consumers 25+ shows increasing podcast listening as the following chart shows. More have listened to a podcast in the last 30 days.


Perhaps one of the more interesting findings in the study was uncovered during analysis of the format-specific podcast audience. In response to the question "How many podcasts did you download and listen to in the last 30 days?", 30+ listeners revealed they were listening more.

The sample was also asked about their favorite radio stations and if they were listening more, the same or less to that station than they were "six months ago." When podcast listener responses were compared to non-podcast listeners, another intriguing trend was seen among those who preferred the news/talk format:


The data suggests that among this format preference group (News/Talk) podcast listening enhances radio listening - a statistically significant number of podcast listeners say they are listening more.

The sample was asked "Does listening to podcasts affect your radio listening?" 56% said it did.


How does podcast listening affect radio listening specifically?

Among News/Talk listeners cume listening was stable over six months while station loyalty/favoriteness increased 75%. Average favoriteness scores in the six months previous were in the 4% range. In this May 2007 study, that number had increased to 7%. This compares to a market average favoriteness score of 4.3%.

Bridge Ratings continues to monitor podcast use over time. One way users are tracked is through the use of panels or groups of users who are interviewed over time in order to record consistent use patterns among identical samples.


The study shows that currently approximately 20% of users who have ever downloaded and listened to a podcast do so on a weekly basis. This group downloads an average of five podcasts per week and spends approximately three-and-a-half hours a month listening to the podcasts they download.

For the first two years of this study (2004, 2005), on average less than 20% of those who downloaded podcasts listen to their podcast downloads on an MP3 player or other portable digital device. Through a combination of improved public awareness through terrestrial radio marketing and a more informed public in general, the number of users who transfer their podcasts to a portable device has increased.

While this trend is encouraging, a clear majority of podcast listeners still are more comfortable listening on their PC's than on a portable device. The number one reason cited by most members of the sample was their perception that the process to transfer is too complicated or time-consuming. This hurdle is slowly disipating.

The future of the growth of podcasting will rely on:

  • Ease of consumption - make the process seamless, automatic - a no-brainer
  • Widen the marketing radius - podcasters should become more proactive in marketing the number and variety of podcast subjects available. Too many consumers don't know about the depth of offerings
  • Terrestrial radio significance - the tremendous growth of podcasting over the last 16 months is primarily the result of the fact that terrestrial radio embraced the technology and could see its value immediately. The benefit of podcasts should be stepped up in order to increase awareness and use by terrestrial radio audiences.

*Sample = 4,500 listeners 15-64

Sample error = +/- 1.5%

As presented to the New Media Seminar June 8, 2007 New York City

*Markets including in this study: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta.

Bridge Ratings is a ratings and research company based in Glendale, California. We are dedicated to providing on-going, immediate, reliable, useable and affordable audience measurement services for the radio industry. Our methodology is based on sound consumer research principles. We are in the business of tracking listeners - not listening. Because we are a true research company we offer flexibility


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