How many Americans are willing to pay for podcasts?

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
June 16, 2020, 4:27 PM UTC

Are Americans willing to pay for podcasts? That’s a questioned that has been raised with increasing frequency as the world grapples with the coronavirus health crisis and subsequent economic crisis. New YouGov data shows many are still willing to pay up to listen to their favorite audio programs. 

The study conducted for Variety shows one in five (20%) of American podcasts listeners who have never paid or donated money to access a podcast say they’re somewhat or very likely to do so in the next 12 months. Those between the ages of 18 and 34 (26%) are especially likely to say they intend to spend money to hear a podcast in the next year, as well as those who reported an income of $40,000 a year or less (25%). 

Additionally, YouGov data suggests 17 percent of Americans have, at one time or another, paid to listen to a podcast. Men (21%) are more likely than women (12%) to have paid, while heavy listeners who listen to podcasts more than once a day (37%) are also more likely to report pulling out the credit card to listen to a podcast. 

These figures emerge after Spotify, which last year purchased the Achor app and Gimlet production company, also finalized a multi-year, multi-million-dollar deal with Joe Rogan, host of The Rogan Experience. 

In a different approach, Podhero, which launched this month, charges a monthly fee and distributes your subscription money to all podcasters you listen to on its platform. 

It appears paid podcast listeners favor giving their money directly to the podcaster. YouGov asked these paid listeners who they paid to access shows and a majority (59%) said they paid directly to the show through such services as Patron or through the podcaster's website. Roughly a third (35%) said they paid money to podcast network such as Stitcher or Wonderly and roughly one in five (22%) said they paid publishers (such as Slate or The Athletic). 

According to the study, 12% of Americans listen to podcasts more than once a day, while roughly a quarter listen once a week or more and 37 percent listen once a month or more. 

For some, the pandemic has changed their podcast habits. More than a quarter (29%) of podcast listers say they’re listening more since the outbreak began in March while 16% said less. More than half (55%) said they’re listening to podcasts about the same amount. 

Methodology: Total sample size was 2,645 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between June 8 and 10, 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults. View full results.

Image: Getty

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