Profile of International Podcast Listeners
In this report, we review the profile of podcast listeners in several countries outside the US. The commonalities among these listeners include gender, age, income level and education level.
We found robust information of podcast listeners in Canada, Australia and the U.K. There is minimal information on podcast listeners in Germany.
On the other hand, there is not a lot of detailed information available for countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America as it seems that podcast is still in its early days in these regions. Therefore, we will provide a summary of our findings on these three regions.
GENERAL PROFILE OF INTERNATIONAL PODCAST LISTENERS
Among the countries with detailed information of podcast listeners (Canada, Australia and the U.K.), we found that podcast listeners are typically between the age of 18 to 54. They tend to be male, affluent (have six figure income in Canada) and educated (have university degree or higher).
Home and on transit are the two main places where people listen to podcasts in Canada and Australia.
The remainder of this report will provide a more detailed review of podcast listeners in each country.
Approximately 10 million Canadian adults (34% of the country’s adult population) have listened to a podcast in the past year, according to a survey conducted by The Globe and Mail. Podcast listeners are predominantly affluent, educated and in the younger age bracket.
Twenty-nine percent Canadians with a household income of $100,000 and above listen to a podcast, and 38% of Canadians with university degree or higher are podcast listeners. The majority of podcast listeners are between the age of 18 to 34, and there are more men (46%) than women (31%) in this age bracket who listen to a podcast.
Sixty-one percent Canadians listen to a podcast at home, followed by 24% on transit. The reasons for listening to podcast are for entertainment, finding interesting stories and learning new things.
Most of the podcast listeners started doing so in the last one to three years, and only 3% have been listening for more than 10 years.
Almost 30% of Australians have ever listened to a podcast, with 17% listened in the past month, according to a report from Edison Research. Most podcast listeners in Australia are male between the age of 18 to 54.
Similar to those in Canada, podcast listeners in Australia are affluent and educated. They also tend to subscribe to ad-free or “ad-light” programs. Home is also the most popular place to listen to a podcast in Australia, followed by on transit.
Most podcast listeners stream the content for immediate listening, and only 27% subscribe to a particular program.
An article on BBC.com reported that about 9% (4.7 million) of adults in the U.K. download podcasts every week, although only about two-thirds of these downloaded podcasts are listened to.
Forty percent of podcast listeners in this country are between the age of 25 and 34, and 29% are between the age of 35 and 54. Most of these listeners are male (61%).
Most podcast listeners in the U.K. tune in to their podcasts during the week between 8.15-8.30 a.m.
In Germany, 45% of adults never listen to podcast, and about 12% listen several times a week, according to Statista. Most podcast listeners (45%) use a music program such as iTunes or Play Music to play their podcasts, followed by Spotify/Deezer at 22%.
ASIA, AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA
Podcasting in Asia is "still in its infancy," according to a TechInAsia report. "Language, food, society, culture and entertainment" are the podcast topics most commonly found in Asia.
In China, only 5% of the population (around 72 million people) listened to “mobile internet radio” or podcast, according to a 2016 Pew Research poll. Accessibility, lifestyle and censorship contribute to this low popularity of podcasts in this country.
Apple’s iTunes did not carry podcasts in China until June 2005, and despite the pioneering effort from other players such as Ku6 and Tudou, RSS-like function is not available, making it more difficult for Chinese listeners to subscribe to podcast channels. The majority of Chinese use public transportation to go to work, and this means they have wider variety of options to entertain themselves during their commute. Censorship of audio broadcast is also another challenge that hinders the growth of podcast in this country.
There are a few African countries where podcasts start to become popular: South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Most of the podcast providers in South Africa come from independents instead of established radio brands, according to The Media Online. One major issue with podcast in this country is the ability to receive payments for podcast subscription.
In Nigeria, the challenge faced by podcast industry is the extremely expensive internet data cost. On the contrary, Kenya has high internet penetration and independent podcasters are budding, covering various topics such as lifestyle, sports and politics.
Challenges faced by podcasters in Mexico include limited access to broadband internet and lack of listener support. Only about 39% of its residents have a home broadband connection, while 66% own smartphones. Only 7% of Mexicans listened to a podcast in 2015, according to Mexican Internet Association.
Mexico is also dominated by public radio stations with limited way to gain revenue outside of tax funding. This further complicates the initiation of podcasts in this country.
Podcast listeners in Canada and Australia are affluent and educated. There are more male listeners than female in these countries. Podcasters are faced with significant challenges in Asia, Africa and Latin America with access to the internet as the main issue.