Spoken word audio listening time and audience size have attained record highs in the United States according to The Spoken Word Audio Report 2023 released from NPR and Edison Research.
The report places special focus on listening locations and explores spoken word audio consumption at home, at work, in-car, and other locations.
“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 NPR VP 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."
“Podcasting now accounts for over one-third of the time spent with spoken word audio. 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,” said Megan Lazovick, VP at Edison Research.
1. Spoken word audience size and listening time attain record highs
Almost half (48%) -- approximately 135M people -- of those in the U.S. age 13+ listen to some type of spoken word audio daily, up two percentage points (46%) from last year.
Listeners in the U.S. age 13+ spend 31% of their daily audio time with spoken word podcasts, a 55% increase over nine years ago (20%).
2. Spoken word listening at home has grown dramatically
60% of the total daily audio time spent with spoken word audio is at home, 24% in the car, 13% at work, and 3% at some other location.
The time spent listening to spoken word audio at home has grown to 41 daily minutes in 2023 from 27 daily minutes in 2014. Increases in at-home spoken word audio listening are seen across every hour in the listening day.
3. Spoken word listening in-car has shifted post-pandemic, but AM/FM radio remains top
Of all the daily time spent listening to spoken word audio, time spent listening in the car has declined from 36% in 2014 to 24% in 2023.
In the car, 62% of spoken word audio consumed by those in the U.S. age 13+ is to AM/FM radio content, including over the air and streams.
4. For the first time, mobile devices are primary way to listen to spoken word audio
39% of spoken word audio consumed daily by those age 13+ in the U.S. is on a mobile device, followed by 35% on an AM/FM radio receiver. At home, 41% of spoken word audio is consumed on a mobile device, and at work, 47% of spoken word is consumed on a mobile device. AM/FM radio receivers still dominate in-car, garnering 60% of the spoken word audio listening there.
5. Podcasts represent a large and growing share of spoken word listening
Podcasts now represent over one-third (36%) of time spent with spoken word audio. Twenty-eight percent of time spent listening to podcasts goes to NPR/public radio. At home, 40% of spoken-word audio listening goes to podcasts.
The findings are available at npr.org/spokenwordaudio.
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