A couple weeks ago we opened up the Podcast Trends Survey to all podcast fans and podcasters alike. The survey — and subsequent report — aimed to benchmark podcast growth, listener behavior, and the current (and future) trends and challenges facing podcasters. Alas, the inaugural Podcast Trends Report 2017 was born.

An enormous amount of thanks in place to several folks within the podcast community for helping spread the word of the survey and played an integral role in the survey engagement. In total, 542 people took the survey and 290 of those were podcasters.

Here are some of the interesting key findings gleaned from the Podcast Trends 2017:

  • 55.7% of respondents spend more time listening to podcasts than watching TV
  • 66.8% of people listen to more than 7 hours of podcasts each week
  • 71.2% of people consider podcast discovery as a major issue facing podcasts today
  • 66.2% of podcasters rank marketing and building an audience among their top challenges

55.7% of respondents spend more time listening to podcasts than watching TV

This was the most eye-opening stat to me in regards to the implications of what this could mean. Sure, this survey was self-selected and was seeded by known podcast fan communities so it shouldn’t be taken as a perfectly accurate sample of the population as a whole. That said, this stat holds major consequences to the shift of content consumption by medium.

TV is (was?) the massive behemoth in regards to content medium, and as a result, advertising. Since the rise of the internet, and the shift to mobile, things have changed slightly and the balance of power has shifted. But make no mistake, the ad dollars paid to TV media buys could fund the current podcast landscape several times over. Last years’ Super Bowl commercials had a base price of $5 million for a 30-second spot.

So while I’m fully aware podcasts won the majority over TV because of the audience sampled, this may be a leading indicator of what’s to come for the general population.

66.8% of people listen to more than 7 hours of podcasts each week

Two-thirds of the respondents listen to podcasts for at least one hour each day. That’s quite the commitment. In hindsight, along with the above question, I wish we asked for similar time ranges for other mediums like TV, radio, books, etc.

Maybe even more astonishing, 41.3% of respondents said they listen to over 11 hours each week.

Again, this provides extremely vital data points on the power of podcasts and their potential. Combine this stat with the insight on growth — 94.1% say they spend equal or more time listening to podcasts compared to a year ago — and it paints a good-looking growth curve.

71.2% of people consider podcast discovery as a major issue facing podcasts today

Podcast discovery, a topic very near and dear to my heart (and part of the mission statement for the site) remains the largest pain point among podcast fans. Why? There are a million reasons, but nobody has perfectly solved the problem. There are simply too many podcasts out there with no good way of finding new ones.

74% said they often discover new podcasts from friend recommendations and word-of-mouth, however, that’s not really the most predictable or sustainable discovery mechanism.

This discovery issue isn’t just a problem for podcast listeners, it’s also the biggest challenge for podcasters. 66.2%of podcasters rank marketing and building an audience among their top challenges.

Below is the full report highlighting more of the key findings. If you’d like a direct PDF download, click here. If you’d like a copy of the raw dataset, please email me through the Contact page.

The Podcast Trends Report 2017