I was doing some research about podcast listeners this weekend, and I found out some pretty interesting stuff. For example, did you know the country with the highest percentage of podcast listeners is South Korea, as high as 58% in some polls?
- Where does the U.S. Rank?
I’ve read quite a few different reports, but the general consensus shows that about half of Americans polled have listened to a podcast last year. 33% have listened to a podcast in the last month. That ties us with Australia for fourth place! Sweden, Spain, and South Korea all have a higher percentage of podcast listeners. The total United States population is much larger than those countries, so there’s still a higher total number of listeners in the U.S., but it made me wonder, why was there was a higher adoption rate in South Korea?
- Freedom of Speech!
My initial thoughts were that maybe they just adopted the technology more quickly. After all, there are some pretty big tech companies headquarter in South Korea, such as Samsung and LG. I found that I was not alone in this initial thought, and many people also pointed to longer daytime commutes (an average of 75 minutes) as a possible reason. It turns out, the most popular podcasts in South Korea are political! Liberal South Koreans felt that traditional media outlets like terrestrial radio and television stations were bought out and towed the establishment line. They found a way to voice their opinion to the country and bypass the networks that could keep them from reaching the masses. These shows are accredited to driving previously inactive members of the country into political action and helped the Democratic Party get in to office.
- Find your hive, no matter where they are.
Italy, Canada, France, Japan, Germany, and the U.K. all have significant amounts of the population listening in. That number looks like it’s going to keep growing, especially as more and more of the world population gains internet access and turns an ear to the airwaves. Did you know that Elon Musk plans on launching something like 12,000 satellites into space in the next few years that are going to provide wireless broadband internet to basically the whole world? There’s currently about 4 billion people out there without internet access! Ideas are going to truly have the potential to be shared globally in the future. Your podcast doesn’t have to be a catalyst for country-wide political reform like it was in South Korea, but it’s good to know in podcasting that we are in control of what we say, how we say it, and who we can say it to.
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