New insights from ARN signals shift in listening habits during pandemic

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Australian Radio Network says its on-demand audio platforms have recorded significant growth when comparing data from February to March this year.

iHeartRadio Australia experienced a 31% rise in registrations and a 26% jump in new users.

Listeners are also increasing their duration of engagement, with a 5% increase in time spent listening (TSL) to ARN stations across the KIIS, Pure Gold and The Edge networks.

The HT&E-owned media company just splashed millions on acquiring shares in outdoor experts oOh!media after announcing pay cuts and a series of cost-saving measures.

ARN says the new data, released Tuesday, is also backed up by growth in digital and social user engagement and was sourced from Adobe, Google Analytics, Social and owned stream log data.

Website users across KIIS, Pure Gold and The Edge rose by 63%, and page views by 49%.

Facebook video views increased by 90% and the number of Facebook users improved by 55%.

ARN also recorded a 38% increase in TSL to podcasts about its iHeartPodcast Network.

ARN collaborated with podcast hosting service Megaphone to review the listening habits of over 600,000 Aussies, to understand how and why listeners were tuning to podcasts en masse.

This demonstrated that overall podcast downloads have increased by 15% since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, with three-fold growth in coronavirus related content.

ARN’s commercial product and audio partnerships director, Corey Layton, said the research shows that growing numbers of Aussies are using podcasts to connect with COVID-19 content.

There were variations in the types of content that podcast listeners are accessing.

The Megaphone listening data provides evidence of Australians self-managing their consumption of “emotionally weighty content”.

The significant increase in consumption of COVID-19 content appears to correlate with a decline in listening to True Crime content, while consumption of emotionally lighter podcasts like entertainment, lifestyle and catchup radio has increased.

“Given the intimate nature of podcast listening, we already knew that people were using it as a medium to escape, entertain and be informed,” said Layton.

“What this data indicates is that even with heightened competition from screens in the home, people are still actively choosing to listen to on-demand audio, which proves the transporting and engaging effects of the medium.”

This is further demonstrated through podcasts such as ‘Stuff You Should Know’ and ‘The Kyle & Jackie O Show’ podcast experiencing higher downloads rates.

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