• By Stephanie Vance

All Signs Point Up: The 2017 Infinite Dial Reveals Good News for Digital Audio

It’s become clear that online radio and podcasting aren’t going anywhere soon, as both channels continue to trend upward. But do you know the different factors driving each medium’s growth? Get to know the online radio and podcasting listeners and their habits, as presented in this year’s Edison Infinite Dial.

Online Radio

Since the iPod first came on the scene, monthly reach has tripled. Now, online radio reaches 61% of people 12+ listen monthly, up from 57% in 2016. Time spent listening is on the rise as well, with 140 million people listening an average of almost 15 hours a week. That equates to 2 billion listening hours per week!

That growth is led by a huge spike in listening among 12-24 year olds. While that age bracket only showed modest growth in listening year over year (2 percentage points per year from 2014-2016), in 2017, we saw a 8% bump, dramatically outpacing other age brackets.

Tech has also been closely tied with online radio’s success. With smartphones now in the hands of 81% of people 12+, online radio consumption is just as convenient as ever. And this year, the Infinite Dial started measuring voice-activated smart speakers which now live in 20 million homes. It will be interesting to see how that may impact online radio in the years to come.


The love story continues for podcasts, which has been growing steadily year over year. 24% of people 12+ listen monthly, which may seem small when compared to online radio, but once you’re in, you’re hooked! And people are getting hooked to podcasts at a faster rate than online radio. 15% more people listen to podcasts weekly in 2017 vs 2016, compared to online radio’s 6% increase. The growth in listening, unlike online radio, is largely driven by the 25-54 age range, jumping from 24% to 31% in monthly listening.

The Infinite Dial raises another interesting point - the quality of that listening. 85% of people who have ever listened to a podcast say they listened to all or most of it, with the vast majority of listeners tuning in immediately, as opposed to downloading and listening later. Plus, they are consuming an average of 5 podcasts every week. So not only are they getting hooked, they are actively seeking the content they love and staying totally engaged.

When it comes to where people are listening, the obvious holds true – most podcast listening happens on mobile, and half at home. As a testament to podcasts as a mainstream medium, this was the first year that podcasts have been looked at as a source of in-car listening, with 19% of people noting that they currently listen to podcasts in the car.

The tremendous momentum for both online radio and podcasting is positive news for all parties – publishers, broadcasters, and advertisers. All signs point to these trends holding, making digital audio the place to be.

To learn more about how to buy online audio, check out letscabana.com.

Source: 2017 Infinite Dial, Edison Research

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