Telling Canadian stories to Canadian podcast listeners: an opportunity and a challenge
PRESS RELEASE — June 5, 2019
Toronto ON, Canada—In film, TV and music, Canadians are used to living in the cultural shadow of the U.S. With many more American than Canadian programs available and a well-developed podcast ecosystem, the U.S. casts a similar shadow when it comes to podcasts. Adding to the challenge, podcasts lack the funding support available to other Canadian cultural sectors.
The good news is that Canadians are happy to listen to homegrown podcasts, according to new data released from The Canadian Podcast Listener (CPL) study, conducted by Audience Insights Inc. and Ulster Media with support from TPX (The Podcast Exchange).
On average, monthly podcast listeners say that 40% of their podcast listening is comprised of Canadian podcasts. However, a deeper dive into the results show some clear gaps.
Fewer than one-third (30%) of the Top 50 podcasts with the greatest monthly reach were Canadian, according to CPL’s findings. Of the 15 Canadian podcasts appearing in the Top 50:
• Most - a total of nine - were not original podcasts, but rather time-shifted programming already broadcast on CBC Radio One or its French-language equivalent ICI Radio-Canada Première
• Two were original podcasts from private broadcasters
• One was an original podcast from the CBC
• Three were original podcasts from independent publishers
Reflecting the lack of original Canadian programs among the most popular podcasts, listeners with the most voracious appetite for podcasts are much less likely to listen to as many Canadian shows. Among podcast listeners who listen to at least five hours of podcasts a week, just over a third (34%) of the podcasts they listen to are Canadian, with 56% being from the U.S. The results show a similar pattern by demographic - on average, Canadian podcasts account for just 34% of the podcasts 18-34 year-olds say they listen to, compared to 54% of listeners aged 55 or older.
French Canadian podcast listeners are more likely to devote a higher proportion of their podcast listening to Canadian podcasts, with the average Francophone saying that nearly 2/3s of the podcasts they listen to are Canadian. However Jeff Vidler, president of Audience Insights Inc., says the finding is somewhat deceptive.
"French Canadian podcast listeners are actually much less likely to be regular podcast listeners than their counterparts in English Canada, and much of that can be attributed to the lack of in-language content,” says Vidler.
“We have so many talented storytellers and producers here in Canada --- and we still have gains to be made when it comes to under-represented voices and under-served listeners,” says Jeff Ulster of Ulster Media. “How do you get your voice heard among the 700,000+ podcasts out there? Major broadcasters have marketing and promotion dollars --- and multiple platforms --- to help back their productions. But independent podcasters don’t have that luxury.”
The Canadian Podcast Listener 2018 is based on a representative sample of 3,000+ Canadian adults and 1,500+ monthly podcast listeners from Maru Voice Canada, Canada’s premier online access panel. The Canadian Podcast Listener 2019 is in field this June, with initial results to be released this summer.
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