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Podcasts: Understanding the market and how to engage listeners

In the “Latest in podcast research” session, George Mullen (Research Manager on BBC) and Tomas Coppens (VRT) shared their insights. 

Tomas Coppens talked about his research on podcast use in Flanders and how they can improve listener numbers. For this, he gave six insights on why people listen to podcasts and what really matters to them. He has studied this through knowing when, how and in which contexts they listen to them.

The first insight is the growing audience: in Flanders, only 29% listen to podcasts at least once a month, being considered active listeners. The audience is skewing towards younger, more diverse, higher educated audiences. On the other hand, when it comes to new listeners, there is a slight increase - in older age groups, across education levels, more women and more people with foreign roots.

Non-listeners are generally older, but also one in three young people. And to explain this, Tomas gave three reasons: they don't know where to start; they don't know what a podcast is; they’re very busy and don’t have time.

To conclude, Tomas Coppens shared his advice on how to have more active listeners on podcasts: take podcasting seriously; build strategies because it's becoming too big; develop new content for younger people; connect with their context and preferences and help them get started on podcasts.

The study conducted by George Mullen, was made with the intention of understanding the overall podcast listening sphere. It overlapped with the outbreak of the pandemic, however,part of the study was conducted beforehand. 

The study observed a sample of  two thousand people that answered 10 minute surveys on three or four hot topics. In this study it was possible to observe that there were a lot of new listeners, especially after the covid outbreak . You could also observe when people listened to podcasts, why they chose to listen and how their apps of choice influence their listening experience.

Written by Beatriz Figueira, Artyom Laptev and Francisco Sezinando