15.05.2019

Study shows Australians are absorbing audio content more than ever in 2019

The awareness of streaming services has increased but radio still remains the most popular platform.

Words by Christie Eliezer

Listening to music remains as popular with Australians as video streaming. But with more access to online audio devices, how have our listening habits changed? We’re spending more time listening online, 11 hours a week compared to ten hours in 2018. This is according to the third The Infinite Dial 2019 Australia study of our digital media behaviour by global company Edison Research. It surveyed 1,021 people aged 12 and older in the first quarter of 2019.

Awareness of streaming services has risen in the past year. Spotify has an 85% awareness compared to 77% in 2018. Apple Music’s is now 83% up from 75%. SoundCloud is at 42%, while Australians also recognise the names Amazon Music and Google Play.

Radio remains the most popular audio platform, with 83% of Australians surveyed revealing they used AM/FM or DAB+ in the last week. It is the most used audio source in the car (85%) compared to CDs (38%), audio streaming (26%), own digital music collection (21%) and podcasts (12%). The study points out that there is a move away from listening to CDs and own music.

Australians have a higher awareness of podcasts than their American cousins, 83% to 77%. But in actual usage, only 30% of those surveyed had listened to one, which was where the US was five years ago. Edison Research suggests this will grow when more Australian content appears in podcasts. There’s also concern by Australians that these pull mobile data too heavily. Nevertheless, according to the study, weekly Australian podcast listeners are up to 15%, compared to 13% last year and 10% in 2017. They tune in for an average of six hours a week. More than half of those who have ever listened to a podcast have listened to a radio show podcast.

Smart speaker ownership has nearly tripled since last year, with 13% of Australians aged 12+ now owning one of these devices, up from 5% in 2018. Google Home leads in brand awareness (77%) followed by Amazon Alexa and Apple HomePod at 45% each. But Australians lag behind the US where 23% own a smart speaker. Social media is used by 83% of Aussies, but with a slight move from Facebook (to 71%) and more towards Instagram (44%) and WhatsApp (31%).

“The study shows that audio in Australia is the same kind of dynamic space we see in America,” said Edison Research president Larry Rosin. “Australian radio retains a large audience while streaming and podcasting continue to grow and new devices create new opportunities.”

Predicts Triton digital president of market development John Rosso, “The online audio and podcast industry in Australia is primed for continuous growth, as demonstrated by the gradual increase in reported consumption year over year. The ongoing proliferation of smart speaker ownership and streaming on mobile devices will undoubtedly play a meaningful role in the continuous growth of these mediums across the region.”