Audio is on the Rise

By Elizabeth Mozian, SVP & GM, Revenue Operations and Digital Audio

Listening to audio content is an essential part of our daily routine. Whether it’s driving in your car with the radio turned on, exercising with your headphones in or cooking dinner while Alexa plays your favorite station, we are spending more hours in the day listening to audio content than ever before.

Sound is back in the home

Thanks to advancements in technology like the Amazon Alexa and Google Home Smart Speakers, accessing audio content at home has never been easier. Your favorite radio station, the score of the game, weather updates and more, are all accessible with a quick verbal command. One-in-six Americans (16%) now owns a voice-activated smart speaker, and that number is expected to grow. In 2018 alone, sales of smart speakers are estimated to increase by 60%.

More Audio

People aren’t leaving AM/FM radio for their smart speakers. While many thought smart speakers would take the place of other forms of audio, 70% of smart speaker owners report listening to more audio than before they purchased the smart speaker.

AM/FM radio may not be the only source for audio entertainment, news, and information anymore, but that in no way means it’s on its way out. Each week, more Americans tune into AM/FM radio (93%) than watch television, or use smartphones, tablets or computers. Radio also continues to dominate in the car with 82% of those ages 18+ tuning into radio in the car.


Not only is it easier to listen to audio in the home or at work, but thanks to the smartphone it also travels with you. Eighty-three percent of the US population 12+ owns a smartphone. That’s over 8 out of 10 Americans walking around with audio content already in their pocket. And with the variety of free and paid streaming options, podcast apps, and improvements in Bluetooth technology and wireless headsets, it keeps getting easier and easier to listen to the content you want while on-the-go.

Content is King

Podcasting is booming. A recent study from Edison shows that 24% of Americans (67 million) listened to a podcast in the past month, and that number continues to rise. Of those monthly listeners, 42% listen to the entire podcast episode and spend an average of over 5 hours consuming podcast content. There is a level of intimacy that comes from engaging with people through their earbuds and this has attracted acclaimed journalists, artists, and celebrities to podcasting. Fortunately for listeners, this also means a treasure trove of premium content spanning different formats and available to be streamed or downloaded and listened to at your convenience.

Marketers take notice

This massive rise in audio consumption, content, and engagement is turning the heads of marketers in search of the most effective and efficient way to attract their target consumer.

Brands are realizing the benefits of a robust audio strategy and are instructing their agencies to ensure they are reaching consumers everywhere they listen. New advertisers across verticals and of all sizes are experimenting with audio in ways they haven’t tried before. Combining the reach of radio, the intimacy of podcasting and the mobility and targeting of streaming, is a win-win for marketers.

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The Smart Audio Report, NPR and Edison Research, Fall/Winter 2017
CTA U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts, January 2018
Nielsen: State of the Media Audio Today 2018, April 2018
The 2018 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital®

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