July 26, 2017 Last Updated 11:14 am

New survey finds connection between podcast listeners and print magazine readers

Nearly one in ten US adults have downloaded or listened to a podcast in the last 30 days, and this group is also big readers of print magazines, GfK MRI survey finds

The latest, greatest thing in publishing these days are podcasts — when it isn’t video, of course. It’s funny how everything that we once called ancillary products becomes the latest thing that will save the publishing industry while actually being something not new at all.

Podcasts have been around a while, it’s just that there are more of them, and more interesting ones. For anyone who commutes to work, podcasts are a useful alternative to listening to the same playlist you created months ago but have been too busy to alter or replace.

And like video (and blogging and everything else) the key to podcasts is having someone on staff enthusiastic about doing the work. Then there is the need to monetize it. We know, of course, that the ones who sound the most enthusiastic about any of these ancillary products is often the one that comes back from an industry gather in some place sunny and warm and suddenly proclaims the company is going big into podcasts.

Cynicism aside, there is no doubt podcasts are a growing area, and GfK MRI’s survey shows this to be the case, with 8.6 percent of US adults having downloaded or listened to a podcast in the last 30 days. But that number is still small… unless you are interested in targeting a certain segment of the population, then the numbers get more interesting as you will see in the release below.


NEW YORK, NY — July 26, 2017 — Nearly one in 10 US adults downloaded or listened to a podcast in the last 30 days – a young, well educated, and highly successful audience that relies on both digital and traditional media.

Compared to the general US population (ages 18+), recent podcast users are engaged with their phones as sources of entertainment. They also rank high when it comes to their ability to influence other people, according to the most recent data (September 2016 to May 2017) from GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer.

Approximately 8.6% of US adults – roughly 21 million people – downloaded or listened to a podcast in the last 30 days, up from 7% a year ago. Among podcast users, 53% were college graduates, 45% held managerial/professional jobs, and 45% were between the ages of 18 and 34 – proportions well above the general population figures.

While the podcast group is very active on the Internet, they are also big readers of print magazines, with 22% placing in the heaviest reading quintile (slightly higher than the US average). Some 68% had visited a magazine website – and 69% a newspaper website or the electronic version of a newspaper – in the last 30 days.

Seven in ten (70%) podcast users consider their mobile phones as sources of entertainment, and about 36% would be willing to receive ads on their phones in exchange for lower monthly costs. In addition, 68% are interested in watching video clips on their mobile phones, and 21% say they would be willing to pay a monthly fee to watch live TV on them. (Note: Data in this paragraph come from the Fall 2016 GfK MRI release, covering September 2015 to November 2016.)

News websites are popular destinations for podcast users – including nytimes.com (visited by 32% of users), huffingtonpost.com (32%), wsj.com (22%) and bbc.com (20%).

GfK MRI also found that 20% of podcast users are “Influentials,” meaning that they engaged in three or more of 11 public activities, from making a speech to running for political office. This is three times the incidence of Influentials in the total adult population (7%).

GfK MRI’s data shows that more than one in 10 (11%) podcast users is an active member of a group that tries to influence public policy or government; that is triple the proportion (3.7%) in the general population. Eighteen percent (18%) say they have attended a political rally, speech, or protest – making them 163% more likely than all adults (7%); and 24% have contacted a politician at the state, local or national level, versus 10% among all respondents.

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Home page photo: Podcast by abacus, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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