The UK Podcast Consumer 2024 – Edison Research

The UK Podcast Consumer 2024 – Edison Research

Earlier today, Edison Research held a webinar releasing the results of their 2024 UK Podcast Consumer research.

This builds on some of the findings that they have already released as part of their Edison Podcast Metrics reports. Gabriel Soto, Senior Director of Research at Edison Research, presented the findings, which Edison has made available on their website. Go away and download the report and the press release for full details.

First, a reminder that I cover a multitude of podcast listening stats on this website, and because there are differences in approaches and sampling methodologies for different companies, you can’t compare a percentage from one company directly with a percentage from another.

I won’t go through every page of the report, but will highlight a few interesting findings.

Edison says that 69% of the UK 18+ population has ever listened to a podcast, which they put at 38 million people. On a monthly basis, 42% of the population has listened, or 23 million people. And on a weekly basis it’s 30% or 17 million people.

Edison reports that UK weekly podcast listeners spend an average of 5 hours 27 minutes listening to podcasts in a typical week. That’s an average of 47 minutes a day. Always worth remembering when you publish your multi-hour podcast!

This chart shows that older listeners are likely to listen to fewer hours than younger listeners. But the difference between the overall total and the 15-34 age group is not that big. I’d still avoid super-long podcasts.

The 30% overall weekly listening figure jumps to 41% amongst 18-34s, whereas it drops to just 18% amongst 55+ listeners.

Backing up what Ofcom findings have previously reported, podcasts are popular amongst ethnic minority groups. 48% of Black UK adults listen each month, and 39% of Asian UK adults listen. And while that Asian figure is slightly below the UK average of 42%, the report points out that there’s a generation of Gen Z (15-24s) “newcomers” to podcasts who heavily skew towards ethnic minority groups. In other words, the podcast listener of tomorrow is going to be more diverse than the podcast listener of today.

The report explores male vs female listening, and perhaps most interesting is the list of the top ten most listened to podcasts for men vs women.

Diary of a CEO jumps from #2 amongst men to #1 amongst women, whereas Joe Rogan is #1 for men but it’s down to #7 for women (quite who those women are is an interesting, and unanswered question!). Titles like Saving Grace and Sh**ged Married Annoyed are more popular amongst women than men. Whereas, That Peter Crouch Podcast and The Rest is Politics are bigger amongst women than men.

One final slide I’m going to dig into a little is this fascinating chart showing what proportion of the podcast listening population you can reach as you work down the list of most listened to podcasts.

What this chart shows is that the cumulative audience for all ten of the most popular podcasts in the UK reach 31% of weekly podcast listeners.

Then, if you add in the podcasts from #11 to #25, you get to 44%.

Don’t forget, that’s across all 25 titles. If you advertise on all 25 titles, you’re reaching just under half of weekly podcast listeners. Because you’ve go to imagine that there’s not an enormous crossover between, say, Joe Rogan and The Rest Is Politics, or between Desert Island Discs and ShxtsNGigs (feel free to drop a comment if you’re a devout listener to both podcasts).

Adding in the next 75 podcasts only gets you to 60%, and then adding in the next 200 podcasts gets you to 72%.

In other words 28% of the podcast listening universe does not listen to any of the top 300 podcasts!

That’s nearly a third of podcast listeners, and you really shouldn’t be too surprised. While the bigger titles in this list tend to gain most of the oxygen of publicity, the truth is that most podcast listeners don’t listen to them. There are thousands of niche titles that don’t break into even the top 300 podcast lists, but are devoured by millions of podcast listeners. Think, say, of fans of a League 1 football club’s podcast, or a niche hobby’s podcast.

Do go and have a look at the full report.

A note on sources. Edison Research is using its quarterly Edison Podcast Metrics UK tracker, which launched in Q3 2023 and interviews around 8,000 podcast listeners a year aged 15+. Edison has supplemented this sample with the UK National Podcast Survey, age 15+ and conducted in May 2024. Previous numbers come from a UK National Podcast Survey conducted in May 2023 and The Infinite Dial 2021 conducted in autumn 2021 by Edison Research and sponsored by Bauer Media and Spotify, age 16+.