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Podcasts show growth with consumers willing to pay for subscriptions

The UK podcast audience, are active, loyal, connected, growing in number – and possess valuable spending power. Our second quarterly report on the UK's podcast industry demonstrates how this medium is fast becoming a normal part of people’s everyday routines. Podcasts are now an established information and entertainment service. As a platform for brands, this is a revenue generating opportunity not to be missed.

This new data shows podcasts are far from being an addon and should now be viewed as a central part of the marketing and PR mix. With 7.1 million people in the UK listening to podcasts weekly, consumers have accepted the channel as a normalised entertainment platform.

As consumers grow accustomed to subscription packages across a multitude of services, from Netflix to Hello Fresh, it seems there’s a strong opportunity for podcasts to follow a similar model in what is fast becoming the Holy Grail of marketing. In a podcast industry first, the data has revealed over half (59%) of listeners would be happy to pay for premium content at an average of £4 (£4.03) per month, or around £50 a year. Combining the growth of podcasts with listeners’ willingness to pay a monthly premium for good content, subscriptions are set to be the next phase in podcast services.

As advertising within podcasts shows 60% growth yearonyear, the report reveals that consumers are not only willing to subscribe, but also purchase from brands. According to the research, 80% of listeners are either positive or neutral to receiving adverts, with a sizeable 59% willing to buy from a brand advertised in a podcast. As these audiences grow, good messaging can fast increase a brand’s commercial opportunity, with 22% of listeners purchasing at least one product discussed. In fact, the importance of aligning brand messages with consumer interest is backed up by the report’s findings, as more than half of listeners (56%) go on to research the brands mentioned either immediately or straight after the podcast has finished. With podcasts getting more and more niche, advertisers can use audio marketing as a way to tactfully reach their core audience.

Recall of brand mentions is staggering with a large – but growing – audience willing to buy straight away, brands should seize the commercial opportunities. For those listeners who don’t want to be targeted, we have been told they would be willing to spend for premium programming, either going adfree or signing up to a subscription. In 2018, the UK market for delivery subscriptions broke through the £2bn barrier and looks to be welcoming podcasts into the fray as a healthy new revenue system. The likes of Luminary are taking a Netflixstyle approach, offering premium content at an affordable monthly cost.

The monetary habits of listeners will likely pique interest from financial institutions. Podcast listeners are shown to be wise with their money, and willing to save. In fact, the average amount saved by listeners is more than £2,000 a year, a notable 26% more than nonlisteners. However, listeners are not averse to a loan: 16% have taken one out, compared to 10% of nonlisteners. It would seem that podcasts have earned the trust of their savvy saver audience. Encouragingly, 59% of listeners believe that podcast advertising relevant to them, and a significant 57% trust it. In the right context, this trust is something brands and institutions will benefit from.

The US clearly leads the way in podcasting prowess, using powerful celebrities to draw in listeners, with the likes of Joe Rogan’s selftitled programme currently number one in the subscriber charts for 2019. Although the UK is embryonic in comparison, we’re certainly becoming more attuned to hearing recognisable voices: half of listeners say it’s important they have heard of the presenter when picking a new podcast. As we see more and more celebrities in the UK hosting their own shows, from Fearne Cotton to Peter Crouch to the Love Island cast, the growing demand is clear. In fact, the previous 4DC report from June this year indicated that 17% of listeners preferred a celebrity presenter, climbing to 25% in only 6 months.

It will be interesting to see how the media landscape develops as podcasts take an even more pivotal role in how Brits consume media in 2020.

Read the full report here.