Digital audio continues to climb, with podcast listening up 37%

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 29 April 2021

Digital audio continues to grow after the pandemic, with people listening to more podcasts, and radio using apps, catch-up podcasts, and smart speakers. 

The annual Infinite Dial Australia 2021 study, released by Edison Research and Commercial Radio Australia, show that 86% of Australians aged 12 years and over listened to radio over-the-air, online and via catch-up radio podcasts in the last month and 37% have listened to a podcast in the last month.

About 5.6 million Australians, or 26%, are weekly podcast listeners, a 53% increase over the 2020 study that was conducted prior to the pandemic lockdown.

Smart speaker ownership also increased sharply, with 26% of the population owning a smarket speaker, up 17% from a year ago.

“Australians have continued to embrace radio through this period of unprecedented disruption and are listening both live and online through multiple sources, including apps, catch-up podcasts and smart speakers,” said CRA CEO Joan Warner.

“Radio has been extremely resilient in reaching mass audiences, while the uptake of podcasts has accelerated rapidly, positioning the industry well for continued growth and innovation in this area.”

The number of Australians 12 years and over who listen to online audio weekly including radio, internet-only services, and podcasts, increased to 66% of the population from 63% a year ago. The average time spent listening to online audio was over 12 hours per week.

People who listen to AM/FM/DAB+ radio online use multiple sources: 46% listen through the radio station’s website, 44% listen through a radio station’s app, 38% listen through an aggregator app or website, and 23% listen through a smart speaker. This was the first time Infinite Dial reported on radio listening through smart speakers, with Google Nest the most popular brand, owned by 24% of the population, while 3% own an Amazon Alexa-enabled speaker.

“We are so excited to present this new information to those in the audio space in Australia and we hope they can use it to move their businesses forward in 2021 and beyond,” says Edison Research president Larry Rosin.

“One of the key takeaways is the growth in podcast consumption in the last year.”

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