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News podcasting has untapped potential, according to a new study

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February 16, 2022

A new study released by the Pew Research Center suggests massive upside potential for news podcasts. Only about a quarter of Americans get some of their news from podcasts, and they are mostly young and educated.

“The share of Americans who say they often get news from a podcast is quite small – at just 7% – compared with about twice as many adults (16%) who say they sometimes get news from podcasts. At the same time, more than half of Americans (56%) say they never get news from podcasts, suggesting there is still quite a lot of growth potential for this nascent industry.”

You can interpret this in a couple of ways. One is that podcasts aren’t as good a medium for news specifically. The study mentioned that the growth of news podcast listeners hasn’t increased much since last year. So news podcasts may have already reached their potential.

The other interpretation is that the idea of consuming news through podcasts hasn’t reached most people’s minds yet. This interpretation seems more likely to me, given current trends.

For example, despite current controversy over Joe Rogan’s podcast, Spotify’s acquisition of his show is a testament to the demand that podcasts have. Although it is not a news podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience represents the first of many high-profile podcasts that media platforms will want exclusive rights to.

The youth lead the charge

A key data point in Pew Research’s findings is that news podcasts are most popular among the youth. This should come as no surprise considering that younger generations tend to be more tech-savvy and open to new methods of media consumption.

One-in-three adults ages 18 to 29 say they at least sometimes get news from podcasts, compared with 12% of adults 65 and older.

It’s possible that with some skilled marketing, news podcasters can target those smaller demographics. Podcasters need to be strategic about capitalizing on the popularity of news podcasts among the youth. At the same time, they must find ways to make news podcasts more appealing to older folks.

Likewise, it’s becoming standard practice for existing news publications to start their own podcasts. Once people realize that most news publications also host podcasts, I’d expect to see news podcast consumption increase on all fronts.

LexBlog’s community is full of legal bloggers with news sites they can turn into podcasts. If you’ve been considering creating a news podcast, apparently there’s no better time than now. Check out our Resource Center for tips on starting and promoting a podcast through your blog.

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