How Big Should Podcasting Be?

Tom Webster
4 min readFeb 16, 2019

A Share of Ear® Analysis

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85883

According to the IAB, Podcasting captured $314 million in revenue in 2017. The 2018 numbers aren’t available yet, but the IAB estimate is that advertising revenues will grow to $659 million by 2020.

I’m not much on forecasting, myself. I couldn’t tell you what podcast revenues will be in 2020, or 2019 for that matter. But here’s what I can tell you: it’s not enough. At least, it’s not pulling its fair share of revenue as a percentage of its Share of Ear. In 2017, the U.S. Radio advertising market (that is, the revenue for ‘broadcast radio’ and their attendant streams) was about 17 billion dollars (and I rounded down.) That means Podcasting’s revenues are about 2% of the revenues that Radio is pulling in, which would suggest that Radio’s share of your earballs exceeds Podcasting’s by 50:1.

Except, it doesn’t.

Thanks to five years of Edison’s Share of Ear research, we know exactly how much time Americans spend with podcasts as a percentage of the time they spend with audio in general. Share of Ear is the only single source measure of all audio, online and offline, in the U.S. The study uses a large sample to provide a quarterly look at exactly how much time we spend with various types of audio content, platforms, devices, and locations of listening.

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Tom Webster

Partner, Sounds Profitable. Leading voice in podcasting, digital audio, and greyhounds