Study finds that podcast listening habits mirror TV watching habits, but podcasts are a more effective ad environment, presenting a new opportunity for advertisers

New York, NY – June 3, 2021 – Spotify and MAGNA released a study today, “Digital Audio Expansiveness: Growing Landscape & Opportunities,” showing how closely podcast listening mirrors television viewing habits in the U.S. The growth of digital audio was accelerated in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a majority of people (72 percent) reporting screen fatigue and 42 percent citing this as the primary factor in listening to more digital audio content.
Here are the top findings:

  • 60% of podcast listeners listen to a new episode of their favorite podcast within a day while 58% of TV viewers watch a new episode of their favorite TV show in the same time span.
  • 75% of respondents said they frequently relisten to podcast episodes, which closely mirrors the 74% of respondents who reported rewatching their favorite TV shows.
  • While podcast listening behavior may mirror TV watching habits, reception of advertisements differs between the mediums. 43% of respondents say that they’re receptive to podcast ads compared to a paltry 17% who reported being receptive to TV ads.

“We’ve seen massive growth in this space as consumers are increasingly spending more time with digital audio and podcasts as part of their media diets,” said Jon Gibs, Global Director and Principal Data Scientist, Spotify. “At the same time, they’re more open to the ads in podcasts than they are in other mediums like television. This is an amazing opportunity for advertisers to connect with new consumers or deepen their relationships with existing audiences.”
Additional key findings include:

  • Visually-focused industries (retail, auto, entertainment etc.) reign supreme: Surprisingly, 50% of digital audio listeners are more open to ads from visually focused industries, compared to non-visually focused industries (41%).
  • Audio is a multi-tasking friendly medium: 92% of people participated in other activities while listening to digital audio, compared to 84% while watching digital video.
  • Positive moods lead to higher receptivity to digital audio: Positive moods like romantic (65%), excited (51%), curious (48%) and happy (40%) led to higher receptivity to advertisements, and when people are in positive moods, listeners are also more likely to trust the product advertised.
  • Podcast listeners are more open to discovery. 35% of podcast listeners are actively seeking out new podcasts, compared to just 27% of TV show watchers who are looking for new content.

“There’s no doubt the pandemic changed consumption habits and we’re clearly seeing audio and podcast listening are extremely popular right now,” said Kara Manatt, SVP, Intelligence Solutions, MAGNA. “We found it particularly interesting that people are more receptive to ads on audio. Brands should ensure they are leveraging more audio and podcasting to keep up with consumption trends and consider targeting based on moods given the impact positive moods have on listening patterns.”

The study recruited over 3,000 participants in the U.S. who listened to digital audio or watched digital video in the past 24 hours. Participants then had to describe up to two digital audio or digital video sessions from the past 24 hours in detail in a media diary. Spotify and MAGNA also conducted a deep dive on podcast listening vs. TV show watching behaviors, as well as how media consumption has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full study can be found here.

About Spotify:

Our mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it. Spotify transformed music listening forever when it launched in 2008. Discover, manage and share over 70 million tracks, including more than 2.6 million podcast titles, for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features for music including improved sound quality and an on-demand, offline, and ad-free listening experience. Today, Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with 356m users, including 158m subscribers, across 178 markets.

About MAGNA:

MAGNA is the leading global media investment and intelligence company. Our trusted insights, proprietary trials offerings, industry-leading negotiation and unparalleled consultative solutions deliver an actionable marketplace advantage for our clients and subscribers.

We are a team of experts driven by results, integrity and inquisitiveness. We operate across five key competencies, supporting clients and cross-functional teams through partnership, education, accountability, connectivity and enablement. For more information, please visit our website: and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Media Contact:

Zinnia Gill
Director, Global Corporate Communications
(646) 965-4271
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