Is 2019 the Year of Audio?
If you listened to audio executives at the recent RAIN Summit in New York, many declared 2019 is going to be the "year of audio." Their predictions called for a banner year where advertisers up their spending and consumers tune in at record levels. Cadence13's Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy and Analytics, Jay Green, believes that "2019 overall will see the continued growth of podcasting as it stands alongside -- not under -- streaming music, broadcast, video and display."
While some bullish opinions may be motivated by a degree of corporate self-interest, recent results from the gold standard in audio consumption research -- Edison Research and Triton Digital's 2019 Infinite Dial study -- do indicate the industry is at a tipping point. Rapid gains in digital are making audio available to new audiences and driving increased consumption. Media companies are increasing investment in podcast production, advertisers are investing in the medium and, of most importance, consumers are exploring more audio on an increased number of platforms.
In the last decade, audio's three hottest categories -- podcasting, digital audio and voice-activated technology -– have enjoyed particularly explosive growth, going from niche options for early adopters to mainstream media choices. Back in the 2009 Infinite Dial, these audio options were in their infancy, and now, just ten years later, all three have strong usage and even better awareness. If such growth continues, we may be declaring more years of audio or even an entire decade!
Any holdouts who may need convincing that audio is where it's at should consider the following:
Podcasting Moves into the Mainstream
According to the 2019 Infinite Dial, nearly three in four Americans have heard of podcasting. While podcasting feels very top-of-mind today, its mass-market awareness is a relatively new phenomenon. As one of the minds behind the report, Triton Digital's President of Market Development, John Rosso (pictured at right), noted: "Podcasting has been on a long, slow growth trajectory and it's been bubbling up a bit each year, but this year it made a very meaningful jump."
How big a jump? In 2009, more than half of Americans had never heard of a podcast, let alone listened to one. At the time, only 25% of Americans said they'd ever listened to a podcast and just 11% had done so in the previous month. Podcasting was so new that, in their research presentation to the media, Edison and then-partner Arbitron (which was later bought by Nielsen) included a detailed explanation of a podcast and how it differed from online audio and downloaded music
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