Podcast listening in Canada is increasing. According to the Media Technology Monitor survey, one third of Canadian adults claim to have listened to a podcast in the past month and on average they are listening for over four hours per week.
Recent predictions show that this growth is set to continue with advertising revenue projected to increase 31% in 2022 to $1.74 billion as advertisers appreciate the value of this audience.
Podcast audiences will continue to explode, passing the biggest music streaming services in reach, with no signs of growth abating,”
Bob Pittman, CEO iHeartMedia
In 2021 we saw major players such as Facebook and Amazon follow Google into the Canadian podcasting arena with Spotify overtaking Apple to become the most popular platform to access podcasts. Various industry experts are predicting that while the number of subscription based podcasts will continue to increase, the proliferation of platforms will mean that ad supported content will also continue to thrive.
Media Technology Monitor (MTM) is the leading study in technology ownership and use in Canada. We examined the latest survey to determine how much podcast listening changed over the past few years and what are the most listened to platforms and genres in Canada. (Data reported from Spring 2021 survey unless otherwise stated).
Trends in podcast listening levels in Canada
Podcast listening is at its highest level yet with 33% of Canadian adults and 46% of adults aged 18-49 listening in the past month. When asked if their listening patterns have changed since the early days of COVID-19, 44% of typical weekly listeners (and 49% of women) say they are listening to podcasts more.
% monthly podcast listeners by survey
The % of adults listening is highest in British Columbia at 41% but has increased the most in Newfoundland where it is has gone up 26% since the previous survey to 24%.
It should be noted that the Spring 2020 survey used a different methodology. The usual methodology was employed for subsequent surveys.
Who is listening to podcasts?
The gender split of podcast listeners overall is skewing slightly more male; 53% male compared to 51% in the Fall 2020 survey. There are however more defined gender skews when we look at the listening by genre.
The age split of these genres follows a similar pattern with most of them skewing younger. Listening to News and Science podcasts skews slightly older with 33% of their audience over 50 years old. Politics and History podcasts are skewing the youngest with 43% and 44% of their audiences aged 18-34.
The total listening by genres is shifting too. Comedy has been replaced by News as the most listened to genre and True Crime has slipped from the 3rd most popular in Fall 2020 to the 5th in this latest survey.
Where and how are Canadians listening to podcasts?
The smartphone is still the most popular device for listening to podcasts with 80% of typical weekly podcast listeners using them compared to only 13% using a smart speaker.
We are however seeing shifts in the platforms used to access podcasts with Spotify taking the lead.
When it comes to finding new podcasts, 39% of podcast listeners rely on recommendations from friends and family. The next most popular source of information is social media at 20%, followed by recommendations within the podcast app itself at 15%.
Does podcast listening impact radio listening?
Podcast listeners consume over 4 hours of podcasts per week and 22% more total audio content than Canadian adults in general. The Spring 2021 survey shows that they consume on average 42 minutes less traditional radio compared to the adult population, yet listen to an extra 30 minutes of streamed radio per week.
Self-reported hours spent with audio content in a typical week