No One is Listening to Podcasts on Smart Speakers

Two reports on Smart Speaker usage have been released in the last week, one from Edision/NPR in the US and one from Rajar MIDAS/IpsosMori in the UK.

To save you combing through all those slides: Smart Speaker usage is way up but nearly no one is using them for podcast listening.

From the Edison report:

71% are listening to more audio since getting a smart speaker
28% of those are listening to news/talk radio

While over a quarter of respondents use news/talk radio, listening to podcasts isn’t even a category listed by Edison and the study from Rajar has no respondents reporting they listen to podcasts on their smart speaker either.

Edison Research SVP Tom Webster told All Access:

“Voice-activated speakers are perhaps the most dynamic sector not only in the audio space but in consumer electronics in general. In addition to all of the search-based conveniences and the home automation capabilities, they are increasing access to all manner of digital audio. ”

Why is podcast listening so low? The main reason is that support for playing podcasts on Smart Speakers is still very patchy. If you want to play a show that isn’t in the iTunes Top Charts then good lucj finding it. Each manufacturer has its own walled garden; Google Home has poor podcast support and poor third-party integrations and Amazon Echo integrates with a bunch of services but none that have the complete podcast catalog. If you want to listen to streaming radio then TuneInn is widely supported, or if you know the show is on Spotify you can ask to play “on Spotify” but currently Spotify does’t have a full catalog.

We are still waiting for Apple’s HomePod to launch in this quarter which is expected to be able play from the shows you subscribe to in Apple Podcasts app. Apple’s market share of podcast listening is estimated to be around 55% so the HomePod might be the device that pushes podcast listening on Smart Speakers to actually be a category in the next Smart Speaker report.