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Digital Audio Consumption Continues to Power Ahead According to IAB Ireland/RED C Research

Digital audio consumption in Ireland has continued to grow with 78% of Irish adults now consuming some form of digital audio, according to IAB Ireland’s “Listen Up” report which was carried out by RED C Research.

This represents an additional 280,000 weekly listeners with weekly reach now at 3.06m adults.

“The results from the 2024 wave of our ‘Listen Up Ireland’ research show the surge in engagement with digital audio seen during and immediately post pandemic is here to stay,” says Sara Eslami, director, RED C Research.

“8 in 10 adults in Ireland are now choosing digital audio. Younger adults continue to embrace digital audio at an impressive rate; a trend that also extends to those in full time employment and higher income brackets, making it an exceptionally effective channel,” she adds.

According to the report, the demographic profile of digital audio users remains similar to that in 2022, with 18-44s, those working full time and ABC1s over-indexing versus the general population.  In addition, the 65+ demographic has also increased listening (+2%) since the last wave.

The “Listen Up” report also notes that 14% of digital audio listeners (429,218 weekly) don’t listen to radio on an FM device, up from 11% in the last survey. “This is higher for younger age groups at 27% for 18-24s and 17% for 25-34s and for listeners of on demand music at 16% and podcasts at 14%,” the report says.

In addition, “the frequency of consumption (daily/weekly/monthly) of digital audio has increased this year.  Over a third of digital audio users, or 1.1m adults, are listening daily (+3% on 2022 levels). Just under 9 in 10 adults (+4% on 2022 levels) are listening weekly.”

The growth in listening is shared across all digital audio formats. The most popular formats used weekly are on demand music at 69%, online radio at 46% and podcasts at 38%.

Not surprisingly, smartphone continues to dominate with 54% of digital audio users declaring it their most used device, especially among younger cohorts (73%), and among podcast listeners (63%).  Smart speakers, meanwhile, were the next most used device (15%) followed by connected car systems (12%).

The report also highlights that 32% of adults intend to increase their engagement with online music while 27% intend to increase their engagement with podcasts. A further 21% said they will increase their engagement with online radio.

With investment in digital audio advertising continuing to increase, the research notes that “it appears that there is an increasing willingness to listen to ads in exchange for great free content with over a third now happy to do so (36% up from 32% in October 2022). This indicates a positive shift in attitudes towards growing acceptance of free content being supported by ads”.

In addition, the power of digital audio as a content discovery method remains “impressive” according to the report with “41% agree that listening to digital audio has introduced them to content that they were previously unaware of.”

“Our Digital Audio Council has been tracking Digital Audio growth since 2019, and with almost 8 in 10 now listening on an average week, the Audio market is thriving,” says Maeve O’Meara, programme director, IAB Ireland.

“This growth is also now being reflected in digital audio adspend as advertisers learn more and embrace this medium.   We will continue to support this market with best practice learnings and insights,” she adds.

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