Nearly 1-in-2 Americans and over 2-in-3 under 30 listened to a podcast last year. One-in-five Americans and three-in-ten under 30 listen to podcasts “at least a few times a week.” Pew Research Center’s recent in-depth nationwide poll on this new media found these.
According to Pew Research Center, “podcasts have become a big part of the normal routine–and news diet—of many Americans, especially younger adults” after a decade of steady growth. Podcasts encompass entertainment, politics, useful news, true crime, technology, and science.
The Joe Rogan Experience, which is eclectic but conservative, The Daily, which is produced by The New York Times and covers news in depth, Pod Save America, which features three former Obama staffers and leans liberal, and Crime Junkie, which covers true crime, are popular podcasts.
The most popular podcasts outperform television news broadcasts. Joe Rogan’s 10 million viewers are four times Sean Hannity’s prime time Fox News audience. Crime Junkie has 10 million weekly listeners and The Daily has 2 million per episode.
Landscape relies more on podcasts.
Two-thirds of podcast listeners obtain part of their news through podcasts, which Americans use for pleasure and education. Pew also found that almost 9-in-10 podcast listeners who obtain some news perceive it to be reliable. Only 4-in-10 social media news consumers demand accuracy.
Podcast listeners report getting exclusive news and insights. “Nearly three-quarters of Americans who get news on podcasts (73%) say this happens at least sometimes, including three-in-ten who say they often hear unique news,” Pew stated.
Podcast listeners also seem to hear more political viewpoints than cable news viewers, who tend to watch the network that matches with their philosophy and partisan preference. Podcast listeners who “hear guest or host opinions about politics and government” say “they are exposed to about an even mix of views” (46%).
Podcasts are ideal for promoting books, movies, and other items because listeners interact more intimately with them. Sixty percent of podcast listeners have viewed a movie, read a book, or listened to a song based on a podcast, and 36% have tried out a lifestyle change, such as an exercise program or journaling.
Podcasts enrich our fractured media environment. They are not immune to disinformation and partisanship. However, podcasts give background and in-depth discussion of problems and other topics in a format that keeps listeners engaged. Attention is precious in today’s environment of millions of marketing messages and continual interruptions. Podcasts are now giving quality to a news and information system that sorely needs it.