Digital Audio Set to Account for 1 in Every 8 Media Minutes for Adults This Year

July 22, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

Cross-Media & Traditional | Digital | Industries | Media & Entertainment | Mobile Phone | Radio | Social Media | Tablet | Video

Digital audio listening is expected to comprise 12.7% of US adults’ overall media time this year, according to a new forecast from eMarketer. This comes as a result of a prediction that time spent listening to digital audio will creep up by 3 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes per day.

That figure is averaged among the entire US adults population. If restricting time spent to active digital audio listeners, it increases to a sizable 2 hours and 17 minutes per day.

When limiting the analysis to digital media time, audio will take up 1 in every 5 minutes spent by US adults (20.3% share), per the report. In fact, the 1 hour and 40 minutes spent by US adults listening to digital audio this year, on average, will be more than spent on several digital media activities, according to eMarketer, including:

  • Watching subscription OTT services (1:27)
  • Using social networks (1:15)
  • Using tablets (1:09); and
  • Watching videos on smartphones (0:40).

Advertisers are certainly taking note of digital audio’s ascendance: audio was the fastest-growing digital advertising medium last year, up 57.9% year-over-year.

Digital Audio’s Lead Over Radio Grows

Digital audio first overtook radio – the medium with the broadest reach in the US – in average time spent in 2020, per eMarketer, and its lead continues to grow. This year the firm predicts that digital platforms will account for almost 55% of total audio time, with the remaining 45% spent with traditional radio.

While digital audio listening time outpaced offline radio by just 3 minutes when it first exceeded it in 2020, this year that gap will have grown to 17 minutes, and by 2024 will have reached 25 minutes.

Nonetheless, radio is expected to account for more than 1 in every 10 media minutes (10.5% share) among US adults this year.

Podcasts’ Role Expands

No discussion of digital audio is complete without a reference to podcasts. And on this front, eMarketer expects average time spent by US adults to grow by 15% to more than 23 minutes per day, or 53 minutes among listeners. US adults’ average time spent listening to podcasts will then climb by 2 minutes per day in each of the next 2 years, according to the forecast.

As such, this year podcasts will account for 23.1% share of digital audio time, according to the report, just shy of the 27.4% share of digital audio services ad spending separately predicted by eMarketer. It looks like ad spend share will outpace share of time spent: by 2024, eMarketer predicts that podcasts will account for 26.1% of digital audio time, but 34.2% share of digital services ad spend.

For more, check out the forecast here.


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