Podcasting's Potential

An in-depth look at the future potential of the podcasting platform. By Dave Van Dyke

September 20, 2016

Much has been written about podcasting's explosive growth, its advertising prospects and its technical challenges. We've even covered some of those topics here at Bridge Ratings.

But what is the potential for this new technology that delivers audio programming on-demand.

How many are listening to podcasts regularly today and, from an advertiser's perspective, how mass appeal is it?

Over the last year we have done continuous monthly studies and analysis on this exciting audio platform and in the just-completed August study we've clarified podcasting's potential for growth.

Podcasting still faces a headwind as a mass-reach medium the implications of which are yet to be determined. However, its ability to finely target consumers in an on-demand world will continue to be one of its strongest benefits.
— Dave Van Dyke, President Bridge Ratings

This chart represents key findings in our latest study, "Podcasting's Potential".

The data included in this review covers consumption patterns from August 2016, February 2016 and August 2015.

The first set of bars to the left shows trends for those persons in our sample who have listened to a podcast in the past week.

14% listened to a podcast in the past week and that number has not changed since our February 2016 fielding of a similar study.

The second set of bars from the left represents trends in podcast consumption over the preceding 30 days. We're seeing nice growth here with 20% of the sample having listened to a podcast in the previous 30 days up from 19% in February and 15% last August 2015.

Similar trends are included for those that have ever listened to a podcast and for those that expressed interest in listening in the future.

What is perhaps the most intriguing metric included here is the final set of bars to the right: Those persons in our sample that indicated they have no interest - at this time - in listening to a podcast.

The majority of our sample - 55% - indicated that they are not interested in podcasts. While this number has come down over the three studies quoted here, it remains a substantial number of potential consumers of this audio platform.

Lack of interest was lowest among 18-34 year olds, and greatest among teens and those 55+.

Our next release of information on these consumption patterns will dig more deeply into the reasons for non-interest in podcasting.

Why do consumers listen to podcasts? Here are the top seven reasons given by our sample:

For the moment, this snapshot of current podcast behavior and perception allows us to better understand the present state of both growth and indifference to an audio platform that is becoming easier to use and supported by a swelling list of both professional an amateur audio producers that cover every topic imaginable.

"Podcasting marketing strength is its targetability and beneficial advertising environment," explains Bridge Ratings President, Dave Van Dyke. "As long as mass reach is not an issue for advertisers, podcasting's place in the marketing mix is right alongside digital platforms that target passionate lifestyle consumers."

The study was conducted June 1 through August 31, 2016 using a random digit dialing and on-line questionnaires generating an in-tab sample of 2840 national consumers.