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The podcast audience is growing, and people are becoming heavier listeners over time. A new study from Westwood One [download page] breaks down the primary ways by which weekly listeners discover new podcasts, revealing that social media is the top source overall.

Indeed, 6 in 10 weekly listeners reported learning about new podcasts through social media, edging word-of-mouth (57%) as the top method of podcast discovery among weekly listeners.

Other podcasts prove to also be fruitful discovery sources, with a slight majority (53%) reporting finding out about new podcasts through other ones.

Podcast apps and platforms, meanwhile, serve as vehicles of awareness for slightly more than 4 in 10 weekly listeners. Traditional media types also have a role to play in discovery, with some learning about new podcasts from their favorite radio or TV programs (38%), radio ads (32%), magazine ads (24%) and billboards (23%).

The survey was fielded among 600 weekly podcast listeners, such that demographic cuts do have small sample sizes. Nonetheless, the general trends suggest that Gen X listeners (ages 35-49) rely on most podcast discovery methods more than Millennials and Boomers, and that men likewise rely on them more than women.

Half Listen Immediately After Downloading

Once a new podcast has been discovered and downloaded, it’s likely to be listened to shortly thereafter.

Almost half (46%) of weekly podcast listeners surveyed for the report said that they listen to a podcast immediately after it is downloaded.

Another quarter listen to the download within 24 hours after download. As a result, roughly three-quarters of weekly listeners will listen to a podcast within a day of downloading it.

This type of behavior seems to be consistent no matter the age or gender of the listener. Men are a little more likely than women to say they listen immediately after download, but other than that the patterns of behavior generally remain constant, particularly among generations.

The full report, based on the survey of adult weekly podcast listeners, can be downloaded here.

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