Audience Engagement Digital Innovation
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With $2.5 billion in sales, audio publishers continue trend of double-digit growth

The good news continues for audio publishers. Google just launched its AI-based podcasts app, aiming to double worldwide listenership. And now the Audio Publishers Association is reporting a 22.7% jump in revenue year-over-year.

The results of the annual US sales survey of the audio publishing industry is out, and the buoyant performance in the sector—a 6-year trend of double-digit growth—continues.

The survey was done by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), US trade association of audio publishers, with the independent research firm Management Practice, alongside a consumer study conducted by Edison Research.

According to this new report by the US Audio Publishers Association, last year audiobook sales crossed $2.5 billion in total, a 22.7% jump in 2017 revenue.

“Digital is where the growth is,” says Michele Cobb, executive director of the APA.

Other trends indicated in the study results from Edison include the smartphone’s dominance as the device of choice, with smart speakers—like Google’s Home Assistant, Amazon’s Echo, and Apple’s Homepod—on the rise.

“We’re starting to see a lot of activity around the smart speaker,” Michele Cobb says. “A lot of people are listening in the evenings. This past season was the holiday for the smart speaker. So we’re expecting to see a lot of growth.”

Among other trends, 54% percent of the listeners in the survey are younger than 45, and the early evening (7 to 9 pm) is a favorite time for listening, especially for smart speaker users.

Convenience appears to be a big reason for the steady growth in audio. The top 3 reasons people stated about why they enjoy this activity are:

  • they can do other things while listening (81%)
  • they can listen wherever they are (80%)
  • and portability (75%)

In addition to continued stellar sales growth, the results show that our customers are finding more opportunities to listen,” says Chris Lynch, the association’s research committee co-chair.

With the “staggering” rise in adoption of smart speakers, this is a trend that shows every indication of continuing.