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Podcast consumption rises by 25%

FILE PHOTO: An employee of the Beats by Dre promotion poses with the company's headphones near a giant television screen upon which the Brazil-Germany 2014 World Cup semi-final soccer match will be broadcast.
FILE PHOTO: An employee of the Beats by Dre promotion poses with the company's headphones near a giant television screen upon which the Brazil-Germany 2014 World Cup semi-final soccer match will be broadcast.Photo by Athanasios Gioumpasis

Just when everybody thought that podcasting was no longer relevant and popular, new reports show that the digital medium is regaining strength and has even logged a 25 percent increase.

Edison Research and Triton Digital’s Infinite Dial report showed that around 39 million Americans or 15 percent of people aged 12 years old and up listened to podcasts in the last month.

For the last four years, except 2012, podcast consumption or usage has remained at 12 percent of the said population. It rose to 14 percent in 2012 and dropped back to 12 percent in 2013.

Tom Webster, researcher for Edison, said quality content and ease of use helped drive the year-on-year increase in consumption.

“We’ve tracked podcasting since 2006 in this research series, and I still remember the days of hunting down an RSS feed, copying it and pasting it into iTunes, downloading the podcast to my computer, and then syncing it to my iPod to listen to later. Today, all that friction has been reduced to just one step, thanks to the convergence of Broadband access, computing, and media server that is the modern mobile phone,” he said in an online post.

Additional data showed that podcasts listened through smartphones and other mobile devices increased. From a share of 34 percent in 2013, smartphone, tablet and portable audio players dominated the listening devices at 51 percent this year. Computer usage share declined from 64 percent to 46 percent in 2014.

Webster said it is the first time that mobile phones have become the primary consumption device for podcasts.

Partly because of the resurgence of podcasts and added innovation, spoken media platforms like Audioboo are also showing remarkable growth.

Audioboom Group PLC (BOOM.L) chief executive officer Rob Proctor recently revealed that Audioboo has been able to gather 2.5 million registered users. The platform, which features radio broadcasts, platforms and other speech-based audio, boasts of 13 million active users across all touchpoints including its mobile applications and partner websites.

Complementing the rise of digital music services like Spotify and music-centric Internet radio are platforms like Audioboo. Both segments have been reporting revenue growth and upward movement in stocks.

More people are logging into those sites for easy and oftentimes free access to music, news and audiobooks. It would be safe to say that many of them are people on-the-go, using their portable devices while on their way to work or while waiting for their next appointment.

Webster said “untethering podcasts from desktops and laptops is the key to creating new, heretofore untapped listening opportunities for podcasts.”