Westwood One Unveils “The Podcast Download Fall 2017 Report” at Third Annual IAB Podcast Upfront

NEW YORK, September 7, 2017 – Westwood One took a deep-dive into the consumption habits of podcast listeners and discovered some major takeaways on their tolerance for advertising within the on-demand space. The Podcast Download Fall 2017 Report features exclusive insights about the heavy podcast listener and is available now at westwoodone.com.

The Podcast Download Fall 2017 Report is an in-depth examination of multiple podcast touchpoints such as at how many commercials podcast listeners are willing to sit through and how they want commercial breaks organized. It also introduces the concept of speed listening (increasing the speed of a podcast) and what it means for advertisers. The report was created in partnership with MARU/Vision Critical to give brands, content creators, and podcast producers a look at the consumption habits and attitudes of these coveted media junkies. Key findings from the report were revealed for the first time in front of media firms, advertising agencies, and podcast stars in New York City at the third annual Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Podcast Upfront showcase.

Key findings include:

  • Heavy podcast listeners are voracious media and tech junkies. Heavy podcast listeners (adults 18+ who have listened to 6+ hours of podcasts in the last week) represent 69% of weekly hours listened. They are far more likely to use new tech platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. They are also voracious consumers of streaming video like Netflix and Hulu, heavy users of AM/FM radio, and consume more TV than the average weekly podcast listener. Overall, podcast consumers are super audio consumers, spending 47% more time with audio daily, per Edison’s Share of Ear.
  • Podcasts are under commercialized; there is an opportunity to add more commercial breaks and ad units. The more people listen, the more welcoming they are of podcast advertising. Heavy listeners say can they can accept more ad breaks and more ads. The longer the podcast, the more accepting listeners are to multiple ad breaks. 39% say a 60-minute show with six ads could have three or more ad breaks.
  • Heavy podcast consumers are more accepting of pre-produced ads. Weekly podcast listeners (adults 18+ who have listened in the last week) prefer host voice reads.
  • There is an opportunity for an ad-free, paid podcast subscription model. Half of weekly podcast listeners and nearly 70% of heavy podcast listeners are open to the concept. Listeners would pay $5 a month a month. Heavy podcast listeners would pay $6 a month for an ad-free version of their favorite podcast.
  • More listens than downloads? Interestingly, podcast listeners say they listen to 24% more podcasts than they download a week (5.6 listens versus 4.5 downloads). Heavy podcast listeners say they listen to 9.6 podcasts a week and download 7.8 a week. This flies in the face of the notion that consumers download far more shows than they listen to. Not so with the most habitual and frequent podcast listeners.
  • Speed listening is real. 42% of weekly podcast listeners say they have increased the speed of the podcast. Half of heavy podcast listeners have speed-listened. This DVR-style “ad zipping” is a reality for podcasting. Should ads be voiced more slowly to be more understandable at higher speeds?

“The insights we revealed today on stage at the IAB Podcast Upfront, and in the Podcast Download Fall 2017 report, are a direct reflection of what the most passionate podcast consumers want in an optimized listening experience,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Corporate Marketing, Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One, “Uncovering the opportunity of greater ad loads, the rise of ‘speed listening’ and a subscription opportunity is valuable information for marketers, content creators, and podcast producers exploring new revenue models. We are bullish on podcasting at Westwood One and are actively investing resources to learn as much as we can about this fascinating and fertile audio space.”

Want more exclusive insights into the world of podcasting? The full report is available for download on WestwoodOne.com. You can also view the Podcast Download Fall 2017 infographic at Westwoodone.com/blog.

About Westwood One

Westwood One, the national-facing arm of Cumulus Media, offers audio products to reach listeners whenever, wherever they are. Westwood One is a trusted connection between audio companies, advertisers, and audience — with 8,000 broadcast radio stations and media partners who reach 245 million weekly listeners. The company’s portfolio features premium content with iconic, nationally syndicated media, sports and entertainment brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, the Olympics, Westwood One Backstage, the GRAMMYs, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the Billboard Music Awards. For more information please visit www.westwoodone.com.


Jana Polsky

Westwood One


(212) 641-2101