People are Creating and Consuming Far More Audio Content Quarantined During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Report
Both supply and demand for audio content are up since the United Kingdom’s stay-at-home orders took effect, according to a new report from British marketing firm IAB UK. All of the metrics from the firm’s media platform clients point to an uptick in people producing as well as listening to music, podcasts, and other audio entertainment.
Though the exact growth varies depending on the publisher and type of content, British people are listening to up to 30% more podcasts, according to the Podfront, Acast, Adswizz, and DAX publishers. DAX found that music streaming has risen by 11% as well. Though it’s not clear what platforms people are listening on, Adswizz is reporting that smart speaker use in the home is up 100%.
The total listening amount is up, but the time people listen is leveling out across the day. Normally, listening goes up when people are commuting and drops during the weekend. With most people at home all day and not going out on the weekend, the average is less time-dependent. Media services company Bauer reported a 96% increase in radio listeners over Easter weekend compared to the year before. Bauer is also reporting that there’s more use of mobile and smart speakers to listen as they aren’t tied to their office desks.
“All our participating members reported that they are increasingly not seeing peaks around traditional commuting times or troughs over the weekend as usual and that listening rates had moved to a more sustained average throughout the day as people start to adapt to more flexible working patterns,” IAB explained in their report. “The traditional “audio day” is being disrupted and consumers are listening to content at all times, regardless of work hours.”
That fits with other data gathered during the pandemic. Nearly a third of Americans are listening to the radio more as a result of being home during the pandemic, according to a recent Nielsen survey. People like and trust the radio and use it to feel connected. That goes for other audio outlets as well, with smart speakers and related devices being used more frequently for access to audio content.
Those consuming more audio content have more to listen to than before as a result of the same quarantine conditions. IAB’s clients reported major growth in audio content publication. Podcast producers published more in a week during the last week of March, according to Acast, while DAX is reporting a 50% growth in SoundCloud tracks published. Those tracks include 30,000 with #covid19 as a tag. The platforms cite the relative ease and flexibility inherent in producing audio content as the reason it hasn’t been disrupted by the current pandemic. Audio in all forms helps people feel connected, and people crave that even more than usual while stuck at home, meaning creation and consumption are likely only going to grow.
“Audio content – be it radio, music or podcasting – enables these connections at a time when other routes may struggle to do so,” IAB wrote. “With increases in both the supply and demand of audio content, and more flexible targeting timeframes as listening becomes more sustained throughout the week, it is certainly an important channel to consider when planning activity in the age of coronavirus.”