Digital audio, in its simplest terms, refers to the consumption of any form of media in a spoken or musical rather than visual format via the internet. It embraces a wide range of differing musical and spoken word platforms including podcasts (plays, discussions, documentaries), traditional radio stations, music streaming sites and internet apps such as Spotify, Apple music, Google Play music, Deezer, sound cloud and radio talk shows to name but a few.
The millennial generation makes up the large bulk of digital audio listeners with younger generations now starting to tune in via their phones. This form of music and audio listening is set to increase dramatically into the future as the younger generations start to become active listeners.
The rising star that is digital audio
It is projected that digital audio will continue to increase for the foreseeable future with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (the IAB) stating in 2018 that, 64% of Americans (aged 12+) listen to online radio and 26% listen to podcasts. , the IAB also stated that, ‘the monthly digital audio audience was expected to exceed 190 million in 2019’. 
Podcasts have steadily increased in popularity over recent years with Edison Research recording 124 million listeners to Podcasts in 2018, a jump of 12 million in only one year. 
This rise in podcast listeners has coincided with the increase in the number of mobile phone owners and, in particular, the increase in mobile apps offering differing ways to listen to digital media.
Whilst the mobile phone revolution has been taking place, so has the rise in ownership of other smart devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers. These smart speakers work by accessing specific streaming services and podcasts, making the connectivity even more likely.
Advertising and digital audio
Given the rapidly changing dynamics of the digital audio listening consumer, it is no longer safe to assume that it is only the young and millennial age generations that are listening to the radio on their e-devices. Older people are much happier to listen via these mediums too and with this increased demographic comes the listeners with greater wealth and disposable income, making the market highly attractive for advertisers.
Research also shows that when people have made the switch to either an online digital platform or streaming service, they are likely to stick with it. According to the streaming service, Spotify; as at October 2019, it had 248 million monthly active users and 113 million subscribers. 
Listeners to streaming services also seem to spend more time connected, with weekly podcast listeners consuming an average of 6 hours a day. 
A great advantage for advertisers is the global audience
Streaming services can be accessed anywhere in the world and so advertisers will be reaching a global rather than a local audience. This is a game-changer for advertisers who no longer have to think locally. The world is quite literally the advertiser’s oyster, if you can appeal to a listener anywhere in the world at any time, then you are reaching audiences in the millions rather than the thousands.
Ofcom recorded in its radio/audio PDF report, (2019) that for the 15 -24 year old age range group, listening via a digital form made up 17% of their listening, with the older age range still preferring analogue radio . Despite the older age group still preferring the analogue form, they are rapidly making the switch to digital as the technology becomes more readily available and easily accessible.
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