3 Points About Media Reach and Audience Demographics in 2021

January 26, 2022

Almost a full two years into the pandemic, digital media usage continues to grow. But that doesn’t mean that some traditional media types haven’t seen growth as well. This is according to findings from the latest edition of Marketing Charts’ US Media Audience Demographics report [purchase page].

Here’s a look at some interesting findings from the report.

1. Media Usage Rises During the Pandemic

During the pandemic the use of digital media has increased, but so has the use of most traditional forms of media. Although there have been indications that fewer adults will be watching traditional TV in five years’ time, that trend hasn’t borne out in the past year. The report — based on 9 months of data ending May 2021 — reveals that the share of US adults who used a TV set to watch live, recorded or on-demand/PPV grew between Spring 2020 (72.7%) and Spring 2021 (77.6%). The same can be said for offline radio, which saw monthly reach increase to 92.8% in 2021 (up from 77.9%). However, there was a notable decrease in the share of adults who read print magazines in 2021.

Digital media also saw an uptick in reach. The share of adults who used social networks, streamed video, and read digital newspapers/magazines/e-books all grew during the period of analysis. And, in a new addition to the report, the study reveals that some 22.9% of US adults used podcasts on a weekly basis in 2021.

2. Hispanics Over-Index in Digital Media Use

Nielsen data shows that an above-average number of Hispanics listen to podcasts, and MarketingCharts’ report indicates that, broadly speaking, digital media tends to attract an over-representation of Hispanic adults. 

Indeed, the data demonstrates that Hispanics are more likely than the average adult to watch downloaded or streamed video. They also over-index when it comes to social media use, while being at about par in digital periodical and e-book reading and podcast listening.

3. Digital Audio Attracts Young, Affluent, and Diverse Audience

Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black adults also over-index in the use of internet radio. Hispanic adults are 8% more likely than average to listen to internet radio weekly, while non-Hispanic Black adults new closer to the average 

As far as weekly podcast listening is concerned, younger adults are far more likely than average to listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. Indeed, close to two-thirds (63%) of weekly adult listeners of podcasts are between the ages of 18 and 44. 

Likewise, podcasts seem to appeal more toward more affluent adults. Those adults with a household income of more than $100k make up a little more than half (51.8%) of the total adult podcast audience. They are also 36% more likely than average to listen to podcasts weekly.

If you’re interested in more detailed stats about traditional, online and social media audiences, head on over here to get your copy of our report, which breaks down the reach and demographic composition of several major media audiences. The 44-page report, packed with 37 charts and tables, also provides a series of cheat sheets that compare traditional, online and social channels across demographic variables so you can quickly see which are the most likely to attract different groups.

[The above chart was updated on 1/26/22 to reflect the figures for non-internet radio.]


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