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Audio series becomes mainstream entertainment; Binge listening is on the rise: Pocket FM Survey

44% of users pay for audio content, while 33% of these paying users spend more than Rs.300 per month on audio.

Audio OTT platform, Pocket FM has revealed the findings of its entertainment consumption survey Digital Entertainment Insights: The Revival of Audio Entertainment. The survey revealed a remarkable shift in consumer preferences towards audio content. It highlighted that users now spend more time on audio than video, with audio series emerging as the most consumed category, stimulating the binge-listening behaviour in entertainment content.

In today's digital age, where screen fatigue has become increasingly prevalent, audio entertainment has witnessed an unprecedented upsurge. While initially, audio space encompassed music, audiobooks, and podcasts, the year 2021 witnessed the emergence of audio series as audio entertainment.

Audio Series - Becoming mainstream entertainment

The survey findings showcased the dominance of audio series as the preferred audio content format, accounting for 41% of overall consumption. Music followed closely with 29%, while audiobooks and podcasts were preferred by 20% and 10% of internet users, respectively.

What sets audio series apart is its ability to captivate listeners with its serialised audio fiction stories, stimulating binge-listening behaviour among the users. On average, users spend 140 minutes daily on audio series, which is higher than music (67 mins), audiobooks (35 mins), and podcasts (50 mins).

According to the survey, 44% of users pay for audio content. Among them, 33% indicated a monthly expenditure of over Rs.300, while 13% allocated between Rs.100 and Rs.300 and 54% spent less than Rs.100 per month.

Audio series becomes mainstream entertainment; Binge listening is on the rise: Pocket FM Survey

Not just a commute-medium anymore

Contrary to popular belief that audio content is predominantly consumed during commutes, the survey revealed that people engage with audio across various daily activities. It was found that 23% listen to the audio while cooking and 12% while carrying out household chores. 25% people listen to audio during work hours, 16% while commuting, and 15% during fitness activities. Moreover, 33% of respondents highlighted audio as a means to relax and unwind.

Regarding timing, the survey indicated that work hours dominate audio listening habits. Morning hours (6-9 am) witnessed a 30% engagement rate, followed by a significant 55% during the most productive period of the day - 9 am to 6 pm. This strongly indicates consistent consumption of audio entertainment while people are doing household chores, commuting for work, and, most importantly, while at work. Evening hours accounted for 21%, while leisure hours at night accounted for 32% (9 pm - 6 am).

Over 30 minutes on Video OTTs for content discovery?

Interestingly, the survey revealed that people spend more time on audio than video. While 57% of respondents watch less than 60 minutes of video OTT content per day, 18% dedicate over two hours to video consumption daily. Moreover, 43% spend over 30 minutes on video OTT platforms for content discovery.

Speaking on the findings of its Digital Entertainment Insights, Shubh Bansal, VP - Growth, Pocket FM, said, "The survey findings reveal a compelling shift in consumer behaviour, with audio content surpassing video in terms of daily engagement. It is evident that audio series has become the preferred choice, stimulating binge-listening habits among listeners. As the digital world grapples with screen fatigue, the upsurge in audio entertainment is no surprise.”

Bansal further added, “It is also intriguing to note that nearly half of the users are willing to invest in audio content, highlighting the value they place on engaging and premium experiences. These insights emphasise the need to adapt and provide diverse, high-quality content that caters to the changing preferences and demands of the audience. It is an exciting time for the audio industry to evolve and innovate with newer formats that deliver captivating audio experiences and resonate deeply with the users.”

An online survey was conducted between 23rd April and 9th May this year among 9616 internet users from India, who are actively consuming entertainment content on video and audio OTTs. 55% of the respondents are male, while 45% are female. About 80% of respondents are from 18-35 years age group, and the rest 20% are older than 35 years.

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