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Mobile, Podcasts Driving Up Spoken Word Format

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Spoken Word’s share of audio listening in 2021 is up eight percent over last year; and 40% over the last seven years. The NPR and Edison Research report shows mobile listening and podcasts were the main drivers for the increase.

Lamar Johnson, National Public Media VP and Megan Lazovick, Edison Research VP presented the findings in a webinar Thursday. The report revealed 75% of those in the U.S. 13+ are monthly Spoken Word listeners; with 45% daily listeners.

While AM/FM Radio is still holding its own in the distribution of Spoken Word Audio; digital has made significant inroads.

Here’s how digital has helped grow Spoken Word Audio growth.

While the report shows Spoken Word Audio listening has increased, and for the most part ads and sponsorships are noticed; research shows there is still a middle that needs work. Other take-aways: *****Among 13-34-year-olds’ 26% audio time is spent with spoken word audio; an increase of 116% over 2014. *****Black listeners spend 22% of their audio time with spoken word; an 83% increase over 2014. *****Hispanic/ Latino listeners spend 27% of their audio time with spoken word; an 80% increase over 2014. *****White listeners now spend 29% of their audio time with spoken word, a 26% increase over 2014.

“It’s exciting to see the growth in spoken word audio over the past few years, particularly among young and diverse listeners. The demography of our country is changing, and it’s imperative that publishers and audio content creators are responding to those changes in the audio they’re producing,” said Johnson.

“While the growth in listening is really astounding, what stands out from this research is the use of spoken word audio for intrapersonal needs,” said Lazovick. “The young listeners I spoke with turn to spoken word audio for help navigating life’s problems, making meaningful connection, and discovering new points of view - spoken word is, for some, an antidote to a superficial social media world”

You can view the full report Here.

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