Online audio hit new highs with more people listening to more forms of digital audio in new ways and on new devices, according to Infinite Dial, Edison Research’s annual look at changes in American media usage.
Based on a national telephone survey of 1,500 Americans, 12+, in January and weighted to the U.S. population, this year marks the 25th anniversary of Infinite Dial. Edison highlighted, among other changes, the evolving American demographic, which in 1998 when the survey started was 78% white vs. 58% today. A mere 31% of Americans had internet access in 1998, compared to 95% today and just six per cent had listened to online audio, in contrast to the 70% who now listen every week.
An estimated 200 million (70%) Americans are now streaming AM/FM radio and audio content weekly, up from 67% last year.
Online audio brand awareness is led by Pandora (84%), Spotify (82%), and iHeartRadio (78%). When it comes to online audio used in the last week, Spotify moves into first place at 29%, followed by YouTube Music (19%), and Pandora (12%).
This year’s study also marked a big jump in audiobook listening from 45% of Americans who had listened in the last year in 2022 to 53% or 100 million Americans this year.
In-car AM/FM tuning was flat in this year’s survey at 73%, followed by owned digital music (53%), also consistent with 2022.
Online audio usage in-car rose to 37% of Americans, up from 32% last year, with the percentage of those listening to podcasts during their commute increasing to 38% from 32% in 2022.
Infinite Dial found 16% of those surveyed now have Apple Carplay in-vehicle with another 14% using Android Auto, marking steady growth in the number of connected cars on the road since 2013.
Those accessing online audio in-car via their cel phones also increased to 53%, up from 49% in 2022.
After taking a slight dip in 2022, podcasting rebounded in this year’s survey with 31% or 89 million Americans listening weekly, up from 26% in 2022.
42% of Americans, 12+, have listened to a podcast in the last month, a new all-time high and up from 38% in 2022, with the majority of Americans, age 12-54, (53%) listening to a podcast in the last month.
Listeners continue to skew young and male, with 35% of weekly listeners men (up from 28%) vs. 27% of women (up from 23%).
Podcast listening was stagnant among those 55+ at 14%. Weekly listening in the 35-54 demo rose from 29% to 31%, and from 33% to 40% with those ages 12-34.
Weekly podcast listeners listened to an average of nine podcast episodes in the last week, up from eight episodes in 2022.
Infinite Dial says with more than 200 million or 70% of Americans now using Smart TVs, more consumers are connecting to audio via their televisions. The study found smart speaker ownership is mostly flat, up just one per cent from last year, led by Amazon Alexa devices. 43% of American homes now have one smart speaker, 20% two, and 38% three or more.
Social media usage
Social media usage has remained flat at 82% for those, aged 12+ and older. Facebook leads usage at 61%, followed by Instagram (44%), and TikTok (33%).
This year’s Infinite Dial included Truth Social and Mastadon for the first time, which earned 3% and 1% usage, respectively.
Of the social media brands used most often, both Instagram and TikTok saw gains across all demos, while Facebook fell across all demos, dropping from 34 to 20% among those 12-34 and from 61 to 55% with those 35-54.
TikTok usage overall, fell from 61% in 2022 to 55% with those 12-34. Twitter usage overall was unchanged despite controversial ownership changes under Elon Musk. The study also recorded a pop in Discord usage among those ages 12-34 and 34-54.
Audio based social media services like Amazon’s Amp, Spotify Live, and Clubhouse saw a jump in awareness to 35% of Americans from 22% in 2022. Just four per cent have used such a service, up from three per cent last year, equating to an estimated 11 million users.
“We’re now in a post-Covid world after several years of pandemic effects on people’s lives, many of our measurements now appear to be back on pattern,” said Edison Research President Larry Rosin.
Rosin said the findings of this year’s Infinite Dial affirm that advertisers aren’t exploiting the opportunities that increased audio listening presents.
“Invest in audio. Advertisers, we really believe, need to move more of their budgets to audio in all of its forms,” he continued. “When one really compares the size of these channels to the amount of advertising investment in them, one really sees these opportunities are just not being exploited by advertisers. People are spending so much time listening to audio, often with great intensity, and we believe the advertisers need to put more money into this space.”
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