10 Million Canadians Now Listen To Podcasts

Canadian Podcast Listener Study finds 41% of Canadians now listen to Podcasts

kowchmedia consultant Steve KowchFrom where I sit On The Kowch there is a new powerful alternative to radio in Canada. It’s called the Podcast. Ten million Canadians listened to a podcast in the past year. These are the findings  of the Canadian Podcast Listener Study by Audio Insights Inc. and Ulster Media with support from The Globe & Mail. Three years ago 30 per cent of Canadians were listening to Podcasts. Today that figure has jumped to 41 per cent with 24%  listening monthly, 15% weekly and 4% daily.

Authors of the 57-page study, Jeff Vidler, Canada’s leading media researcher and now team leader at Audio Insights Inc. and Jeff Ulster, former head of Digital Talk Content at CBC and now owner of Ulster Media; say their study “tells us more than we’ve ever known about Canadians’ podcast habits and interests.” The Canadian Podcast Listener: A Landscape Study is a two-phased study of more than 4,000 Canadians who are telling us that “Podcasting is becoming an increasingly important part of the Canadian conversation.”


This is a study that for the first time offers the Canadian perspective on podcasting by filling in the gaps on listener demographics, Canadians most listened to podcasts and how and when they listen to podcasts. There are also insights about how people discover podcasts and thoughts about advertising.

 “First-ever Canadian study proves podcasting is a big deal here, too”                Jeff Ulster   

“I wish I had access to this information in my many years as Director of Digital Talk Content at CBC Radio,” said Jeff Ulster.  We looked at US studies, we looked at our own limited metrics, we heard anecdotes – but we were always yearning for more useful and reliable data that could help us understand and become more relevant to podcast audiences.”

“We saw a need to fill some big information gaps around podcasting in Canada,” says Jeff Vidler, president of Audience Insights Inc. “There’s been a lot of research into the dramatic growth of podcasting in the US, but almost nothing here in Canada. Who’s listening to podcasts here in Canada? What are they looking for from the podcasts they listen to?”

“There’s plentty of good news in this study for  Canadian podcast publishers,” adds Ulster.  “There’s definitely an appetite for Canadian content, which is reflected in the list of programs people reported listening to.  The levels of engagement here in Canada line up really closely with American listeners, which bodes well for podcast business looking to monetize their content, given the boom we’re seeing in the US in terms of spending on podcast advertising,”

 29% of 18+ Canadians living in the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver area listen to podcasts at least once a month • Canadians who attended university are more likely to listen to podcasts • Podcast listening is slightly higher in upper income ($100K+) households  Men  prefer to listen to comedy and tech podcasts  women like crime and mystery podcasts   Overall there are three reasons why people listen to podcasts: to be entertained (54%), hear interesting stories (47%) and learn something new (43%)  44% of Mobile phone listeners like first person storytelling podcasts  People who listen to podcasts on their mobile phone spend an average of 4.6 hours a week with podcasts compared to 2.9 hours among those who listen to podcasts on their desktop or laptop  45% of listeners prefer to download before listening to a podcast while 17% never want to download if they can avoid it  38% press play when they find a podcast they like.

10 million Canadians listened to a podcast this year. kowchmedia can help produce your business podcast to connect with the 41% of Canadians who listen to podcasts on a regular basis. Call 647 521-6397 for a FREE consultation or email steve@kowchmedia.com.

A look at the Canadian podcast listening landscape


Now, lets take a look at the study graphics to provide a breakdown of its findings. If  you’re like me and the font in the graphics are small and difficult to read, just click on the graphic to make it larger. Then click on the arrow on the left at the top of the graphic to return to the page and continue reading the blog.










Biggest challenge for podcasters is to be heard and generate revenue

If you have a podcast, your biggest challenge is being heard and generating revenue. The Canadian Podcast Listener Study looks at both these issues. From how listeners view advertising on podcasts to how listeners find a podcast and what are the top Canadian podcasts.

Nearly half of all monthly podcast listeners and two-thirds of Power Listeners (those who listen an average of five hours a week) say they have looked into the product or service advertised on a podcast. Most monthly podcast listeners, especially Power listeners, see podcast advertising as effective or more effective than advertising on other media. Millennial podcast listeners feel that podcast ads are more effective than ads in other media.

Ads read by hosts hosts lead the list of reasons for why some listeners feel podcasts advertising has more impact than ads in other media. Other leading reasons: a personal connection and uncluttered ad environment.

While the study shows 45% most or always skip ads read by hosts, that figure is lower than the 59% who say they most or always skip ads NOT read by hosts. Nearly half of monthly listeners (49%) claim they skip podcast ads most or all of the time. Power listeners are less likely to say they frequently skip ads.

 Men differ from women on how they choose podcasts 

  • 42% of women tend to find a podcast to listen to from friends or family members
  • 41% of men find the podcast they like from browsing websites
  • 42% of 18-34 year-olds find podcasts they like on social media

Nearly half (47%) of podcast listeners report that they would like to hear more about what Canadian podcasts are available. According to the study, here are the top five Canadian podcasts:

  1. Under the Influence
  2. Quirks & Quarks
  3. Ideas
  4. Current
  5. Vinyl Cafe

So what happens next. Well, Jeff Ulster hints at things to come on LinkedIn. He has teamed up with Canada’s leading audio content syndicator, Jean-Marie Heimrath, to launch The Podcast Exchange, a podcast network that will use the data of the Canadian Podcast Listener Study to help podcasters be heard and generate revenue. “We have a track record of optimizing the distribution of digital audio to grow audiences, engage users and generate revenue.”

From where I sit On The Kowch, if you are interested in podcasting click here to login to the study. I used to think the future stars of radio will come from successful podcasts. After reading this study,  it’s clear to me, that those who excell at producing and hosting podcasts won’t need a 50,000 watt transmitter to be a star. Today, the power of the internet offers talented story tellers a more powerful platform to share their stories and entertain listeners anywhere on mobile phones, tablets or computers. It’s the new frontier. It’s the future where all podcasters need is a microphone, a computer, internet connection to a podcast hosting platform along with a website and social media to promote their podcast to attract listeners.

It sounds easy. But it really isn’t. There is stiff competition with very talented podcasters online. You need to know how to tell the best stories, do the great interviews and be disciplined on air. I can help you do that with the kowchmedia exclusive podcast coaching program on my podcast page Check out the testimonials of two of the most listened to US podcasters.

Steve Kowch is Canada’s leading media coach at kowchmedia helping emerging radio and podcast talent chase their dream to become stars on air and online. Steve ran two of Canada’s largest newstalk radio stations in Montreal and Toronto for more than 14 years. He was National Director of NewsTalk Radio Programming for Astral Media. He was a professor at two of Toronto’s leading broadcast schools and is the author of   99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Making It BIG In Media   

Contact Steve at 647-521-6397

To comment on this blog,  email steve@kowchmedia.com