Francophones lagging in podcast adoption

MTM survey finds lack of French-language content may be to blame.

The podcast craze has yet to catch on with French Canadians the way that it has with Anglophones, a new report from Media Technology Monitor finds, as nearly twice the number of English-speaking Canadians favour the digital audio content.

A survey of 8,208 Anglophones in late 2018 found that in 2011, just 13% of Anglophones over the age of 18 were listening to podcasts. By 2018 that number had risen to 24%. But just 12% of Francophones report engaging with podcasts, and a lack of French-language content – a problem also seen with OTT service providers like Netflix – could be to blame.

Age also plays a role; Gen Z are the biggest podcast fans at 39%, while just 14% of older boomers aged 61 to 72 are engaging.

The most avid podcast listeners are affluent, with 39% of households with an income of $200,000 or more say they are tuning in, while just 14% of households with incomes of $35,000 or less, do. Part and parcel with that, 33% of post-secondary graduates are into podcasts, but only 11% of those with some high school education are.

The advantage of taking your podcast to go is why more than 60% of listeners over the age of 18 said they are accessing their podcasts via smartphone. As both iOS and Android devices come equipped with pre-installed apps, it has enabled users to easily stream and download audio content.

However, on those smartphones 28% of users are typically going to YouTube to access podcasts and 27% are using podcast apps, built with automatic notifications and downloads for new episodes.

Podcast listeners are also utilizing other audio content as 94% are streaming audio, 78% are listening to music on YouTube and 41% are using platforms to stream AM/FM radio.

For those Anglophones not listening to podcasts, the survey found a variety of factors can contribute. One in five people said they don’t know what constitutes a podcast or how to access one, while 39% cited a lack of interest and 15% said they couldn’t find the time to tune in.

Meanwhile, 15% of Anglophones aged two to 17 listen to podcasts and 45% tune in at least once a week.

For advertisers, podcast rates still vary wildly; data provided to MiC shows that CPMs for podcasts across Canada’s various networks can range anywhere from $15 to $50 per 1,000 listeners, although different factors influence prices (such as host reads versus non-host reads for ad spots, precision of targeting and direct versus programmatic buys). One source also said they expect prices to go down in the near future, as adoption increases.