Third Annual Fall Study Finds Women Close The Gap, Podcast Events Gain Traction, Podcast Listening On Smart Speakers Hits A Speed Bump, And Podcast Ad Appeal Shifts

NEW YORK, NY – October 16, 2019CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One, America’s largest audio network, is releasing the results of its latest Westwood One’s Podcast Download — Fall 2019 Report, which has studied podcast audience and advertiser trends over the last three years. Much like its predecessors, the Fall 2019 edition reveals valuable insights for content creators and advertisers.

“On the audience side, our latest study finds the majority of new podcast listeners are women, and that there is a disconnect between smart speaker ownership and smart speaker usage for podcasts,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Marketing for CUMULUS MEDIA and President, Westwood One. “For advertisers, it’s important to understand that podcast ad preferences for the industry and listeners are at a crossroads – listeners want host-read ads, while the use of traditional pre-produced ads is growing.”

The study also found podcast events are a huge growth opportunity for content providers and advertisers, and that brands looking to reach cord-cutters can find them in podcast audiences

Here is a more detailed look at the report findings:

  • Women continue to close the gap in podcasting: Growth in time spent with podcasts and the majority of new podcast listeners are women. For the second consecutive year, podcast listenership is up among women. Compared to July 2017, weekly female podcast listeners are spending +23% more time with podcasts. This growth in time spent is 3X that of total weekly podcast listeners. Weekly female podcast listeners have downloaded +13% more podcasts and they listened to +15% more podcasts compared to July 2017.
  • Podcast events are a huge growth opportunity for content providers and advertisers: Podcast listeners are willing to travel, intend to go to more events, and open to spending. These podcast event-goers skew male, Millennial 18-34, and are heavy podcast and audio users. One out of five heavy podcast listeners (19%) reported attending a live podcast show. 52% of podcast event-goers are willing to travel over 25 miles to see a live show. Event-goers are willing to spend an average of $42 for tickets.
  • A disconnect exists between smart speaker ownership and smart speaker usage for podcasts: While smart speaker ownership has increased, there is little podcast listening on smart speakers. According to Edison Research’s Q2 2019 “Share of Ear,” 30% of Americans own a smart speaker, tripling in a mere two years. Although podcast listeners are 33% more likely to own a smart speaker, their device ownership is not translating into smart speaker podcast listening. From 2017 to 2019, the number of weekly podcast listeners who use smart speakers to listen to podcasts only grew from 16% to 18%.
  • Podcast ad preferences for the industry and listeners are at a crossroads: Podcast listeners prefer host-read ads while pre-produced podcast commercials are increasing. Since 2017, weekly podcast listeners stated they favor host-voiced ads over pre-produced ads. This is particularly true for Millennials 18-34 and women. However, the recently released “Full Year 2018 Podcast Ad Revenue Study” from IAB/PWC reported that usage of host-read ads is falling while pre-produced ads are growing. In 2017, host-read ads represented 67% of the podcast ads delivered. That fell to 63% in 2018, a decrease of -6%. Meanwhile, pre-produced ads have grown +12% between 2017 and 2018.
  • Brands looking to reach cord-cutters can find them in podcast audiences: Millennials 18-34 and female weekly podcast listeners are more likely to be cord-cutters. Podcast audiences provide a new way of reaching cord-cutters. Among weekly podcast listeners, 29% don’t have a subscription with any pay-TV company, and that number grows among Millennials 18-34 (34%) and women (36%). To reach lost audiences who have cut the cord on their pay-TV packages, advertisers can now turn to podcasts.

Report Methodology

Westwood One commissioned a study of weekly podcast listeners and their perceptions about the advertisements that they hear within podcasts. This study was created in conjunction with MARU/Matchbox, a nationally recognized leader in consumer research. This is the third annual study in our Fall Podcast Download series. This study was fielded online using a nationally representative sample of 601 respondents who met the following criteria: Adults over the age of 18, all respondents spent at least one hour listening to podcasts within the past week, respondents were not employed in the advertising, public relations, marketing, market research, radio, television, digital, or podcasting industries. Surveys were conducted between July 29, 2019 and August 10, 2019.

Additional Information
For more information and highlights from the Westwood One’s Podcast Download — Fall 2019 Report please visit the Westwood One blog: www.westwoodone.com/blog.

About Westwood One

Westwood One, the national-facing arm of CUMULUS MEDIA, offers iconic, nationally syndicated sports, news and entertainment content to over 250 million monthly listeners across an audio network of nearly 8,000 affiliated broadcast radio stations and media partners. Westwood One is the largest audio network in America, home to premium content that defines the culture, including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, the Olympics, Westwood One Backstage, and the Academy of Country Music Awards. The rapidly growing Westwood One Podcast Network delivers popular network and industry personalities and programs. Westwood One connects listeners with their passions through programs and platforms that have everyone listening. For more information please visitwww.westwoodone.com.


Suzy Schultz | Westwood One | sschultz@westwoodone.com | (212) 419.2905