Podcast and digital audio audiences are on the rise during containment in France.

Consumption of audio content and podcasts explodes during confinement: 46% of French people say they listen to more of them. A new study reveals a 20% increase in digital audio listening thanks to media, with 8 out of 10 French people listening to digital audio compared to 6 out of 10 before confinement. This phenomenon can be explained by the absence of car journeys which used to favour radio but which are now being abandoned in favour of digital.

After the explosion of mobile and video content, another format is now taking off, or to be more exact, is spreading its wings on the French market: the audio.

Before Covid, according to Mediametrie, 9.8% of Internet users listened to native podcasts every month, compared to 6.6% in 2019, with a young audience (60% of native podcast listeners are under 35). More than 1 out of 4 Internet users listened to radio replay content and/or native podcasts. 26% of Internet users listened, during the month, to radio content previously broadcast on the air in replay (21.2%) and/or native podcasts (9.8%).

Native podcasts were now known by nearly half of Internet users (47%), with increased awareness among the youngest: 68% of the under-15-24s are familiar with this format. Listening to native podcasts was an intimate moment, “solo” for 93% of listeners, on a mobile phone for 57% and rather at the end of the day, after 6pm, for 51% of listeners.

The evolution of podcasting in France in 2020, during the coronavirus crisis and beyond

The French Adtech Audion recently published a study on the digital audio and podcast consumption of the French during confinement. The study reveals that nearly half (46%) of the French say they listen to more audio content than before confinement, and 1 in 5 listen much more. In one month of confinement, the growth of podcast listeners is greater than the annual growth. The study shows that listeners are mainly looking for content that makes them laugh (at 38%), but first turn to podcasting for information (66%).

Key points of the study

There are three main key figures from this study. Firstly, nearly half of the French listen to more content than before the confinement and 20% listen to much more. In total, 83% of French people listen to digital audio content.
Underlying these figures is the transformation in usage that has taken place between the beginning of containment and today. Digital audio listening has dropped with the announcement of the confinement, but the French are resuming this habit while many no longer have daily commutes, which were the main listening hours in normal times. This shows that the French are keen on these listening times, and that digital audio is part of their daily life despite the disappearance of “ritual” hours during the day.

Consumption of podcasting by French people during confinement

By questioning the French about their podcast consumption during confinement, the survey showed that the number of podcast listeners had increased by 4% since the beginning of confinement. This is more than the annual growth in podcast listening, if we are to believe Médiamétrie’s figures! Podcasting attracts in particular French people who are already used to listening to online content: two thirds of them listen to it, and 54% of radio listeners are also podcast consumers.

The digital audience first declined at the beginning of the confinement, since the habits of a large part of the French population were completely changed due to the lack of daily commuting. But listening quickly picked up again, especially thanks to the podcast. The fact that the podcast is gaining ground is a strong signal to the market: it shows that listeners are keen on this listening format, which is easily adaptable to their daily lives.

A first explanation for this phenomenon is the variety of content available. Especially during the confinement period, podcast producers have accelerated their content production. The variety of the latter makes it possible to address a wide range of listeners. Finally, it can be seen that the podcast is a preferred format not only for entertainment in this difficult context, but also to meet the need for information that has increased during containment. Regarding the subjects that interested each section of the population, and the results are very varied: 81% of listeners aged 55-64 are looking for cultural content, while the youngest prefer to go for entertainment… The podcast format and deferred listening make it possible to respond “on-demand” to everyone’s desires.

During confinement, parents were very fond of educational or entertainment content for their children. It is a format that allowed them to keep them occupied without putting them in front of the screens all day long, while stimulating their imagination. For many parents, confinement also means “home schooling”. Many podcasts already existed or have been launched to help them with educational content designed especially for younger children. As a result, 1/4 of listeners aged 25-34 have their children listen to podcasts.

Live audio and digital radios lost their advantages in favor of delayed digital listening

There are no precise figures on a drop in consumption on the radio, but digital appears to be the main medium for listening to music, radio or podcasts: the number of listeners of audio content on digital has increased by 20% since the beginning of the confinement.
This choice of digital for listening to audio content was already a trend before containment. It is reinforced with the coronavirus, since many French people no longer have to take their car to work. Due to the lack of car journeys, the French listen on their smartphones or computers, or even on their connected speakers, and less on radios. Indeed, the French listen less to their usual radio in the morning at 7:30 am, but go to listen to the news by replay or podcast at 9 am while having their coffee, for example.

These new habits might remain in the post-confinement era

There is every reason to believe that the habits born during confinement will continue. New podcast listeners, for example, are 34% who want to maintain these habits. Nearly 1 in 5 confined French people are thinking of going into podcasting, and more than half of digital listeners will start listening to podcasts. The consumption of digital audio and podcasts has already been growing strongly for several years. IConfinement has the effect of an accelerator by giving rise to new habits among French people.

This growth might continue in the coming months. We intend to accompany this growth by allowing podcats publishers to adapt their podcasts for the French market.