Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Fall 2011 Report Reveals Latest Podcast Trends

Podcast Advertising Reaches Young Cord Cutters Who Prefer Advertising-Free Video Streaming

Spotify Is Now the Leading Podcast Listening Destination

Women Represent the Majority of New Podcast Listeners

There Are Now Six Social Audio Brands with Similar Listener Awareness and Usage

NEW YORK, NY – December 6, 2021 – Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS), in partnership with Signal Hill Insights, today released Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Fall 2021 Report, a comprehensive evaluation incorporating several new studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.

The seventh edition of the study that examines weekly podcast listeners is part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Topics covered in the Podcast Download Report include usage, content, social audio and advertising trends.

“Our new Podcast Download Report uncovers a major opportunity for brand marketers,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Marketing for Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One. “With this new report, we can now prove podcast advertising reaches tens of millions of younger consumers who have abandoned linear television for advertising-free video streaming services.”

“Spotify has now become the number one listening source for podcasts in the U.S. The sands are shifting under our feet,” said Jeff Vidler, President and Founder of Signal Hill Insights. “The big three podcast listening oligarchy – YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify – now have a 63% listening share, up from 55% in 2019.”

The Fall 2021 edition reveals valuable insights for content creators and advertisers. Some highlights from the report:

  • Podcast listeners are heavy users of ad-free video streaming. As two out of five weekly podcast listeners are cord cutters and only watch ad-free video streaming.
  • Women ascend: Podcast newcomers who started listening last year are more likely to be women. 60% of those who began listening to podcasts in the last year are women. Women represent 43% of the audience who began listening to podcasts four or more years ago, the podcast pioneers.
  • Podcast content preferences differ significantly by gender and demographic. Of the top five most-listened-to podcast genres among men and women, there are just two types of podcasts (Comedy and News/Current Events) in common. Among men, the top five content genres also include Sports, Technology, and Business. Among women, their top podcast genres include Storytelling/Drama/True Crime, Entertainment/Pop Culture, and Education.
  • Social audio is no longer a one-brand category. Six social audio apps have similar usage and awareness. Facebook Live Audio Rooms, Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse, Discord Stage Channels, Reddit Talk, and Spotify Greenroom each have been listened to by 17%-19% of the weekly podcast audience.
  • Podcast platform wars: Spotify is now the leading listening destination as the big three podcast tuning oligarchy (Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and Spotify) expand share. When asked which platform they listen to the most to access podcasts, 24% say Spotify, followed by Apple Podcasts (20%) and YouTube (19%). In two years, the combined share of the big three has grown from 55% to 63%.
  • Podcast advertising consideration, intention, and usage at all-time highs according to a November 2021 Advertiser Perceptions study of 300 media agencies and marketers. 45% of brands and agencies say they are currently advertising in podcasts, up from 34% in 2020.
  • The greater the podcast listenership, the more podcast ads generate consumer response and business outcomes. Host-read ads continue to be the most preferred, especially among women. As a result of hearing a podcast ad, heavy podcast listeners (those who listen 6+ hours per week) are more likely to have searched online for a product, made a purchase, used a promo code, or followed a brand on social media.

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Fall 2021 Report is available in full for download at

The study was executed from a nationally representative sample of weekly podcast listeners. The report also examines heavy podcast listeners (those who listen 6+ hours per week) as well as when consumers started to listen to podcasts – podcast pioneers (4+ years ago), podcast newcomers (past 12 months).

Report Methodology
Cumulus Media | Westwood One, in partnership with Signal Hill Insights, commissioned a study of weekly podcast listeners with MARU/Matchbox, a nationally recognized leader in consumer research. The seventh installment in the series, this report includes questions trended back to the inaugural 2017 study. This study was fielded online using a nationally representative sample of 600 respondents who were adults age 18 and over, spent at least one hour listening to podcasts within the past week, and not employed in the advertising, public relations, marketing, market research, radio, television, digital, or podcasting industries. Surveys were conducted between September 30, 2021 – October 29, 2021.

About Signal Hill Insights
Signal Hill Insights specializes in audio research, partnering with publishers, broadcasters, and advertisers to tap new opportunities in audio. Clients include many of North America’s leading broadcasters and podcast networks.

About Cumulus Media

Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS) is an audio-first media company delivering premium content to over a quarter billion people every month — wherever and whenever they want it. Cumulus Media engages listeners with high-quality local programming through 412 owned-and-operated radio stations across 86 markets; delivers nationally-syndicated sports, news, talk, and entertainment programming from iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, CNN, the AP, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and many other world-class partners across nearly 7,300 affiliated stations through Westwood One, the largest audio network in America; and inspires listeners through the Cumulus Podcast Network, its rapidly growing network of original podcasts that are smart, entertaining and thought-provoking. Cumulus Media provides advertisers with personal connections, local impact and national reach through broadcast and on-demand digital, mobile, social, and voice-activated platforms, as well as integrated digital marketing services, powerful influencers, full-service audio solutions, industry-leading research and insights, and live event experiences. Cumulus Media is the only audio media company to provide marketers with local and national advertising performance guarantees. For more information visit

Contact: Karen Glover | Westwood One |