By Austin Short
Podcasting is something I recently have become infatuated with. It is awesome to have audio of your favorite shows pre-downloaded and ready to listen to whenever you like. I regularly listen to The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz, which is an ESPN radio show that is available as a podcast. A more traditional podcast I listen to is The Joe Rogan Experience because he has amazing guests and a lot of common interests, such as mixed-martial arts. But I have always wondered how Joe Rogan and other podcasters make money off of their shows.
The Pew Research Center’s State of the Media 2016 report answered this question and gave more information about the relatively unknown form of media. It is unknown in comparison to TV, radio, etc. According to Edison Research a little under 50 percent of Americans were even familiar with the term podcasting. That number has remained steady over the last five years; it has only gone up four percent from 2010 to 2015. These numbers were surprising to me, even though I have just recently started listening to podcasts I have been aware of them for some time now.
But listeners of podcasts have grown much quicker than the familiarity numbers stated previously. In 2010 only 12 percent of adults over the age of 12 had listened to a podcast in the last month. By 2015 that number nearly doubled. The number of adults listening to podcasts in 2015 rose to 21 percent. Smart phones have helped facilitate the ability to listen to these podcasts wherever you go. The accessibility has aided the growth of podcasts but it is interesting to note that podcasts only make up two percent of all audio listening in America. That is a very small fraction of the pie. By comparison, AM/FM radio makes up 54 percent of all audio listening. I find it surprising that the radio numbers are still that high and wouldn’t be surprised if podcasts gain some ground on radio in the upcoming years.
Even though podcast downloads have also increased these numbers are not quite concrete enough to ensure advertisers that people are actually listening to the podcasts and their ads. Even though ads are the main source of revenue for podcasts there are new ways podcasters are trying to make money, including Kickstarters, grants, subscriptions and freemium models. A new development that may help advertisers trust podcasts more would be new files that can track how much of the podcast someone listens to and to what parts. This would be a huge development for the future of podcasting and I hope this is platform that will continue to grow.