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Time Spent Listening to Spoken Word Audio Increasing

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46% of the U.S. population listens to spoken word audio every day according to the latest Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research released Thursday. That’s an increase of 45% over the last 8 years. 47% of time spent with spoken word audio is with radio.

Edison Research’s Share of Ear is a quarterly survey of Americans who are asked to keep a detailed one-day diary of their audio usage. Share of Ear utilizes a nationally representative sample of those age 13+. The sample for this study was 4,118.

This was the fourth annual report which explores the ways spoken word media consumption in the U.S. has increased over time, including the number of listeners, and how long they listen.

The data from the report showed that spoken word audio listening has continued the shift to mobile devices: 34% of all spoken word audio is consumed on a mobile device, up from 9% in 2014. Younger listeners are more likely to listen on a mobile device: Among those age 13-24, 62% of their spoken word audio is consumed on a mobile phone. 47% of time spent with spoken word audio is spent with AM/FM radio, 21% with podcasts, 11% with audiobooks, and 21% with other. 58% of time spent listening to news audio content is with NPR/Public Radio

This year’s study also included how younger demographics are increasingly more interested in the medium, and revealed a 214% increase in listening to spoken word audio among those age 13-24.

Here are highlights from the report: The number of spoken word audio listeners continues to increase. There are an estimated 26 million more people listening to spoken word audio in the U.S. than eight years ago. An estimated 131 million people in the U.S. age 13+ are daily spoken word audio listeners, up from 105 million daily listeners in 2014.

Spoken word’s share of all audio is increasing among all listeners. Listeners age 13+ spend 29% of their total audio time with spoken word content, up from 20% in 2014, a 45% increase.

Listeners age 13-24 show the biggest growth with share of spoken word audio. That Gen Z segment spends 22% of their time with spoken word audio, compared with those age 13-24 in 2014 who spent only 7% of their time with spoken word audio, a 214% increase for this age group.

For the first time ever, daily spoken word audio listeners spend a majority of their audio time with spoken word. Those who listen to spoken word audio daily spend 51% of their total daily audio time with spoken word.

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