COVID slowed Canada’s podcasting growth slightly: study

While the market remains strong, there are some gaps in Canada, such as for Francophone listeners.

Podcast growth pre-COVID could be attributed to commuting and drive time. Now, as restrictions are loosening, podcasting remains a sizable piece of the Canadian online audio market among Anglophones. Three Anglophones in 10 listens to podcasts, according to a new report from the Media Technology Monitor.

Anglophone listenership grew more than 50% over two years prior to the fall of 2019. However, in spring 2020, there was a slight decline as more people worked from home and commuting was negligible. And, nearly half of those who commute via public transit or by foot listen to podcasts. Employed Anglophones are also more likely to listen to podcasts than are those who are not working.

But for those who are still loyal listeners, they tend to be extremely tuned in. The report says that podcast listeners are audiophiles, in particular online audio, and are more likely than the average Anglophone to listen to music on YouTube, music streaming services and AM/FM radio streams. Seven in 10 podcast listeners also use streaming music services. They are 63% more likely to stream radio content than the typical Anglophone.

Half of podcast listeners say they prefer longer podcasts (30 minutes or longer). Men are more likely to prefer longer podcasts, and 25% of men like episodes that are longer than an hour.

Students are group most likely to listen to podcasts. Nearly half of 18- to 34-year-olds listen to podcasts but interest tends to decline with age. Only 8% aged 65 or older listen to podcasts. Slightly more men are likely to listen to podcasts than are women.

Comedy is the most listened to genre, with 38% of listeners saying they listen to podcasts in the genre, but there are other genres nearly as popular – news 35% and science or political podcasts, 33%.

While Anglophone listeners (two in five) rely more on recommendations about new podcasts from those around them, Francophones are just as willing to turn to social media to discover new podcasts. One in six Canadian Francophones listens to podcasts.

 Although gaining popularity in the French-language market, podcasting remains behind in comparison to other forms of online audio content such as music on YouTube, streaming music services, and online AM/FM radio.