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Gen Z more likely to be listening to podcasts passively

Podcast listeners want learning and stimulation and to grow their knowledge base, radio listeners want their mood boosted

How to build relationships with Gen Z - we are talking about 15 to 24 year old

Audio builds strong connections and is unique in conveying a sense of intimacy.  Podcasts take radio intimacy one step further, we often listen at home, alone and through headphones.

BBC have been keeping listeners company for 100 years but it is declining in Gen z.  Radio is still massive, and whilst radio brings in 3 times more gen z than podcasts, it is in decline.  To address this they are experimenting with formats on BBC SOUNDS - on demand music services podcast services.

Podcasts are not a competitor, they feed different need states.  Gen Z more likely to be listening to podcasts passively.

Podcast listeners want learning and stimulation and to grow their knowledge base, radio listeners want their mood boosted.

Podcasts are capturing a completely new audience and introducing speech to a new generation so the BBC can tap into an audience they might have been missing out on.  They are introduced to speech radio earlier than they would have found it.  Previous generations aged into speech radio, therefore podcasts can engage speech listeners at a younger age and build on these habits.

Habits built in youth stick, but we need to work harder to get podcasts right for them 15-24 year olds are the smallest cohort of listeners so it hasn’t yet been cracked.

What does good look like for this audience - our tracker gives an idea of what this audience is listening to and consuming rather than just downloading.  More recently there is more work being done on this to understand decision making on podcast choices.

Learning from this podcast tracker is as follows:

Their taste doesn’t skew as young as we might think.  Some feels typical but some are the big universal hitters that appeal to a big audience.

Not about holding a mirror up to them but about relatability and topicality

Top 100 podcasts for their age group there is a diverse spectrum from younger more informal content but also much broader and listening about passions and interests.

What can we say about this audience knowing their tastes are so broad.  2 key themes are identity forming and in touch.

Identity forming is about cultivating own identity and where they fit in.  This is diving into interests and engage with things they can’t get on tv.  Also demystifying current issues are popular.  Lastly, develop[ing a toolkit for topics and scenarios they might face.

Feeling in touch is more about being tonally on point.  Not about being young, but about understanding modern media cues.  Building empathy, raw and honest opinion in an unfiltered way.  Not to agree with opinions, more about the honesty.  Lastly to deliver on the sense of intimacy, like they are creating a 2 way sense of dialogue, addressing the listener and it is like listening to a best friend.

Exciting opportunity to evolve audio and the different needs and habits of Gen Z.  Need to get it right for their generation by keeping in mind identity forming and keeping in touch.

Written by
Rosie Smith

Tue 4th October 2022