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IPSOS DIGITAL AUDIO SURVEY 2019: Finally ground zero data on Podcasts in Italy

PRESS RELEASE — December 13, 2019 · Updated January 10, 2020

Milan, Italy—In many Countries, 2019 will be remembered as the ‘Year of the Podcast’, format that is far from recent but is living a moment of intense interest and enthusiasm amongst operators and the public.

Italy makes no exception, but to date has operated with only a hazy view of how this format is defined and of its impact in terms of audiences, listening behaviors and potential.

An information void acutely perceived by Italian operators and publishers, aware that the lack of a clearly defined perimeter is an obstacle for further developments of the Industry.

To cover this information-gap, in 2019 Ipsos launches its ‘Digital Audio Survey’, a study that will be repeated annually to monitor listening behaviors of all forms of Digital Audio, and Podcasts in particular.

Ipsos in Italy has a very strong positioning both in audience measurement (in which it is a Market Leader, working with almost all Italian JICs and the Radio MOC), and in Media Development, and has approached the study of Digital Audio fully employing this uniquely combined heritage of neutrality, rigor and methodological solidity on the one hand, and in-depth understanding of Media on the other.

The resulting approach has strongly contributed to the warm reception reserved to this first Edition of the study, based on a definition of podcast developed through an articulated exchange with major stakeholders of the industry, amongst which a prominent role was played by DigitalMDE, and consistent with the IAB standards.

Results show that about 7 million Italians have listened to podcasts in the last month, 26% of the 16-60 years old population of the Country.

Podcast listeners are young, highly educated and professionally qualified. But most of all, they are interested in quality content that can satisfy their curiosity for proactively exploring content. Their choice of podcasts is prominently based on the topic (53%, which becomes 61% amongst the 35-44 years old population), or speakers/narrator’s voice (24%, with an even higher role amongst under 35s).

Often podcasts are listened while multitasking (83%) but – in response to those that think this format is demanding and requires concentration – for 46% of podcast listeners they are simply a way to relax.

In a phase in which Media struggle to keep audiences engaged with recurring appointments, it is significant that most podcast listeners are very much into series (71%), and 30% listen to series from beginning to end: this ability to create a relationship with their listeners make podcasts of great value for operators.

“Our study draws a picture of a format with high potential that, thanks to the distinctively ‘pull’ nature of content that is proactively searched by users on the basis of their interests and inclinations, answers to the needs of a qualified target that is selective and therefore increasingly difficult to keep involved with ‘push’ Media. These traits make podcasts a very interesting advertising vehicle, that can lead to very high adv recall (64%). But the data also shows that, to capitalize on the potential of this format, operators should make the effort of understanding and respecting the specific way listeners relate to it, adapting offer and user experiences accordingly’, comment curators of the study Nora Schmitz – Head of Ipsos Audience Measurement – and Claudia d’Ippolito, Senior Researcher in Ipsos Media Development.

Methodology: The Digital Audio Survey was based on a sample of 2.300 individuals representing the 16-60 years old Italian population. Interviews were run through Device Agnostic CAWI with a 15 minutes questionnaire. Fieldwork took place in July 2019. The study was carried out in partnership with Audible and CondéNast.

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