The Rise of Radio on Demand and Podcast Productivity

Written by

The Hook Team

Published on

September 9, 2016



Time to read: 3 minutes
Radio on Demand 2 - Hook Research

From life hacks to laundry service apps, millennial productivity is a big deal – 56% of millennials feel that technology helps them use their time more efficiently. One area in which we at Hook Research have really seen progress is the podcast industry, or the so called radio on demand. Whilst the industry took a dip in recent years, podcast listening grew by 23% in America between 2015 and 2016.

There are now 75 million people using podcasts each month, in contrast to the 25 million five years ago. Not surprisingly, it’s the younger audiences that are tuning in the most: one in four Americans aged 12 – 54 listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. Though undeniably the phenomenon of “Serial” plays a key role in this rise, it’s also to do with millennials’ hunger for knowledge, their quest for constant self-improvement and their on-the-move lifestyles.

Increasing productivity with radio on demand

Podcasts allow us to achieve a range of personal goals and make better use of the time spent doing mundane tasks or frustrating commuting. Instead of staring numbly at the next person’s armpit on the tube, I have the option to zone out and discover how Liz Gilbert approaches creativity. Rather than wasting 45 minutes cleaning, I can find out how to improve my brand’s online presence while doing the dishes.

Books present their own difficulties – staying connected to a story when rammed against a door on a bustling train is an ongoing challenge. Though there’s always the option to seriously abuse my Spotify playlists, I’m still left with a nagging feeling that I could be doing something more productive. Interestingly enough, others feel the same – 21% of Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis in comparison to 13% plugging into Spotify.

Radio on Demand - Hook Research

Podcasts are connecting with youth

There’s also the potential that the people focused approach of radio on demand appeals to the reported loneliness of the millennial generation – there are several inspiring podcast hosts that I categorise as role models/people I’d secretly like to be friends with. The informality of podcast interviews, especially those created by younger groups, allow you to feel that you’re sitting in on very personal conversations.

With the expectation that we deserve more from our jobs and lives generally, there’s the pressure to continuously achieve. Listening to other people’s stories provides an intimacy and an honesty you just can’t get from a heavily edited article. There’s a huge sense of relief on hearing that your blogger hero also experiences anxiety with every post published, or that your favourite author worked three jobs until they were 35 – it helps us feel a little more normal and like we might not be doing too bad after all. It’s a bit like a comforting and inspiring conversation with your best mate.

The younger generations are keen to learn and will continue consuming content which offers not only entertainment, but education and development, tailored to the times, places and subjects that suit them. There’s no doubt that the format of podcasting works and is connecting with youth, so whilst the industry may need a bit of re-branding and there’s still some much needed (but exciting) work to be done in the podcast advertising space, it would seem that ‘radio on demand’ remains, very much, on demand.

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