Study finds that podcast listening habits mirror TV watching habits, but podcasts are a more effective ad environment, presenting a new opportunity for advertisers

London – June 03, 2021 – Spotify and MAGNA, IPG’s global media investment and intelligence company, released a study today, Peak Openness: Leveraging Digital to Reach People When Most Willing to Consider, showcasing how closely podcast listening mirrors television viewing habits. The UK study showed that the growth of digital audio was accelerated in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a majority of people (66%) reporting screen fatigue and 75% citing this as a factor in listening to more digital audio content. The study also found that the multi-tasking, friendly nature of digital audio leads to greater openness, attention and ad interaction.

Here are the top findings from the report:

  • Podcast listeners are more likely to be up-to-date with the podcasts they listen to (66%) compared to TV show viewers being up-to-date with the TV shows they watch (55%)
  • Content binging is more common with podcasts, with 46% of people binge-listening to podcasts compared to 37% of people binge-watching TV shows.
  • Reception of advertisements also differ between the mediums. 67% of respondents say that they’re attentive to podcast ads compared to 46% who reported being attentive to TV ads.

“We’ve seen massive growth in this space as consumers are increasingly spending more time with digital audio and podcasts as part of their media diets,” said Jon Gibs, Global Director and Principal Data Scientist, Spotify. “At the same time, they’re more open to the ads in podcasts than they are in other mediums like television. This is an amazing opportunity for advertisers to connect with new consumers or deepen their relationships with existing audiences.”

Additional key findings include:

  • Visually-focused industries (retail, auto, entertainment etc.) reign supreme: Surprisingly, 38% of digital audio listeners are more open to ads from visually focused industries, compared to non-visually focused industries (29%).
  • Audio is a multi-tasking friendly medium: 89% of people participated in other activities while listening to digital audio, compared to 71% while watching digital video.
  • Strong passion for podcast hosts. About half (43%) of podcast listeners feel a strong passion for the host of their favourite podcast compared to the passion for TV show actors (34%).
  • Increased podcast consumption for Millennials. While all generations report increased podcast listening since the pandemic, listening has especially increased among Millennials (30%) compared to other generations (20% for Gen Z, 21% for Gen X and 12% for Boomers).

Harrison Boys, Standards & Investment Product Director, MAGNA, said: “Audio has always been an effective medium, and it’s encouraging to see that podcasts are living up to their promise. Having an environment where people are more receptive to advertising is a big opportunity for brands.”


The study recruited over 2,300 participants in the UK who listened to digital audio or watched digital video in the past 24 hours. Participants then had to describe up to two digital audio or digital video sessions from the past 24 hours in detail in a media diary. Spotify and MAGNA also conducted a deep dive on podcast listening vs. TV show watching behaviors, as well as how media consumption has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Spotify:

Our mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity—by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it. Spotify transformed music listening forever when it launched in 2008. Discover, manage and share over 70 million tracks, including more than 2.6 million podcast titles, for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features for music including improved sound quality and an on-demand, offline, and ad-free listening experience. Today, Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with 356m users, including 158m subscribers, across 178 markets.

About MAGNA:

MAGNA is the leading global media investment and intelligence company. Our trusted insights, proprietary trials offerings, industry-leading negotiation and unparalleled consultative solutions deliver an actionable marketplace advantage for our clients and subscribers.

We are a team of experts driven by results, integrity and inquisitiveness. We operate across five key competencies, supporting clients and cross-functional teams through partnership, education, accountability, connectivity and enablement. For more information, please visit our website: and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Media Contact
Nicky Higgs
Head of Communications, EMEA
[email protected]


The full study can be found here.