Why Millennials Like Podcasts

The study showing that Millennials listen to less radio than older generations is hardly news. Other studies have shown similar trends, and you need to look no further than your favorite Millennial to know that they’re all about connected consumption of all their media.

Meanwhile, we have the growing body of data showing that the very same folks like podcasts. The Podcast Consumer study released by Edison Research shows that 35% of podcast listeners are in the 18-34 demographic. In fact, comScore data shows that same demographic is 44% more likely than the average smartphone-owning adult to listen to podcasts on their device at least once a week. And podcasts are even more popular with younger demos – while 18-34 year olds are more likely than the general population to be podcast listeners, 12-17 year olds are almost twice as likely to listen.

Just this morning I had a conversation with my favorite Millennial about podcasts. She listens at work, and she works in an environment where she can’t be connected all day long. Each day, she downloads her daily diet of podcasts and brings them with her. She says playlists get too boring.

The most fascinating part of this is that Millennials – as well as folks in the younger 12-17 demographic – are listening to podcasts, which are primarily talk programming. The very same programming that on broadcast stations is relegated to the AM dial and listened to mainly by 35+ demographics. How can that be? I’m thinking there are a few things that make podcasts so attractive to younger demos:

  1. It’s all about the device. The younger you are, the more attached you are to your device. If the content is available on your device, it’s worth your attention.
  2. On demand content is the everything. No matter what they’re consuming, younger demos are consuming it on their terms: what they want, when they want it.
  3. Shared content is important. Not only do Millennials like to share, they like to like what others share. Listen, and share with your friends.
  4. Non-fiction and reality content is a thing with Millennials.

Back to the Millennial that I live with. When she’s home from college I really enjoy an evening in front of the tv with her. It used to be easy to pick a movie that we both wanted to watch. But more and more, our tastes diverge, with hers preferring shows about cooking competitions, or brides picking dresses. If it’s fiction, she’s looking for crime and thrillers. The latest Jane Austen novel remake? Not so much.

Offering appealing content in a form that this age group likes to consume is the key to the success of podcasts with younger demos.

Podcasts have struck a chord with Millennials, and it has to do with several things, not the least of which is audio content that they like. While broadcast radio assumes that what they want to hear is the latest hits, it turns out they also want to hear great non fiction programming, on their phones, when they want it. If you podcast it they will listen..



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