Podcasting's Opportunity Demographic Lies with Baby Boomers

April 2023

As the podcasting industry continues to grow, new data from a study by Edison Research and NPR has revealed a largely untapped audience: the age 55+ demographic. In a live webinar hosted by Edison Research President Larry Rosin, the “Hit Play, Boomer” explored the untapped potential among the Baby Boomer generation.

According to Rosin, 120 million Americans age 12 and older are currently listening to podcasts on a monthly basis. However, listening among “Baby Boomers” is largely stagnant at a far lower level than younger demographics. While 70% of Boomers are aware of podcasting, only half of them have ever tried listening to one. Boomers do have the tools to listen to podcasts – with four in five owning a smartphone and more than 60% owning a smart TV – the challenge is getting them to use these devices for podcast listening.

Additional key findings include:

  • Boomers who do listen to podcasts over-index for listening to news podcasts by a huge margin, and by smaller margins to history, religion, and science podcasts.
  • Closing the technical gap and making podcast listening easier, while finding more pathways to their topics of interest, is a key.
  • Those in the 55+ age group have historically shown much higher numbers for direct response advertising and for direct appeals for funding. The right programming and the right messaging can make this target attractive not only to advertisers but perhaps for subscription, donation, or other financing models.

Susan Leland, Director of Audience Insights at NPR, spoke about the importance of understanding the current state of Boomer podcast listeners in order to “open new pathways for growth among this largely untapped age group.” With the right programming and messaging, the 55+ demographic can be a valuable target for publishers and advertisers alike.

Download the full report below.

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