Podcasts: The new radio for young listeners

Qustodio team

Qustodio team

Experts in digital safety

Tips to help your child stay safe during the back to school period

Audio entertainment is having its moment worldwide: there’s no denying that its popularity is on the rise, with no signs of slowing down any time soon. With the arrival of the television and video games, the medium of radio seemed to have been cast aside, but in the 21st century, we now find it alive and well, with its very own modern twist: the podcast. 

The podcast, where the terms “broadcast” and “iPod” meet to describe a series of digital audio files the user can download to their device to listen to any time, anywhere, has grown from strength to strength in recent years as a form of entertainment. According to The State of the Podcast Universe report from Voxnest, in 2020 alone, global podcast listens increased by 42%, with European listeners tuning in 53% percent more than they had done the year before. 

In addition, demand for podcasts in languages other than English reflects global content consumption trends: downloads for Spanish-language podcasts increased by a whopping 94% during 2020’s first six months. According to a study from IAB Spain, 70% of people who consume online audio content listen to it in some form daily. All signs that tell us podcasts have arrived, they speak multiple languages, and they’re here to stay. 

How young people listen to podcasts

Reflecting on the increasing European awareness of podcasts as a form of digital content, at Qustodio we ran a short analysis on how younger listeners access audio entertainment, to dive deeper into the trends and investigate what young people are really interested in. 

Contrary to popular belief, young people do still listen to the radio: Spain’s 2020 Estudio General de Medios showed that radio reaches 48.8% of young people under the age of 24, while according to Statista, 55% of 15-25 year olds in the United Kingdom listen to the radio on a weekly basis. Spotify’s 2021 Culture Next report, exploring how generations shape audio culture, details that 77% of UK millennials, and 67% of UK Gen Zs say they use audio to reduce stress levels. Young people are now turning to podcasts and audio content more frequently to help with their mental health: on Spotify, Gen Z listening was up by 179% for the category of mental health, 108% for self-help, and 119% for health overall. 

The same Spotify report in Spain showed that 4 out of 10 Gen Z and millennial listeners in Spain feel they can trust information in podcasts more than that of traditional media outlets. The most-consumed audio types which Spanish younger listeners turned to in order to relax and de-stress came in the form of true crime, pop music playlists, or ambient sounds. 

While Generation Z and millenials have a lot in common when it comes to audio entertainment, there are some differences between the two generations. According to the Leisure and Digital Entertainment Observatory in Spain (OCENDI), Gen Z’s most-consumed form of content is music and video entertainment (83%), with only 28% of Gen Z listeners confirming that they listen to the radio, compared to 54% of millennials: a difference of almost double. 

“Podcasts, as a new form of entertainment and communication, are here to stay,” states Eduardo Cruz, CEO and co-founder of Qustodio. “That’s why it’s important for us as parents to understand the type of content our children are listening to, and for us to suggest podcasts that might interest them or our families. There are now so many different types of podcasts: from fictional storytelling to educational ones that help us learn languages from the comfort of our own homes. There’s a podcast for every family out there!”