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Half of U.S. Households Are Listening to Podcasts: Nielsen

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There's a podcast listener in half of all U.S. households, and boy do they love beer and bottled water, according to new data from Nielsen that aims to help consumer brands match purchase behavior to podcast audiences.  "Advertisers are eager to explore the world of podcasting but they don’t really know much about the podcast audience," said Bruce Supovitz, Nielsen Audio svp. "That is all about to change."

The just-released edition of Nielsen Podcast Insights looks at the correlation between podcast tastes and spending habits of audiences across 300-plus categories, including gum, olives, deodorant and frozen pizza, but narrowed its public findings to three life-giving products: bottle water, baby food and beer.

Nielsen gathered the data from its Homespun Panel of thousands of U.S. households, who allow the ratings firm to measure their purchases. The survey found that over 60 million households in America are home to a podcast listener, with 22 percent of those fans considering themselves "avid" fans. Those millions of podcast listeners also spend billions of dollars on consumer products every year, so the key for marketers is to know where to best reach them.

Nielsen found that out of 48 million beer-buying households, 53 percent were home to a podcast listener and 23 percent to an "avid" fan. An average podcast fan spends nearly $120 annually on beer, with fans of TV and film podcasts spending the most per year, at $125. Not surprisingly, listeners of religion podcasts spend the least on beer, at $108.78. Of the 48 million households, over 7.5 million listen to government-related shows, while 5.45 million dig comedy. Roughly 5.4 million beer-loving households are also fans of music podcasts. Overall, the podcasting audience influences a little over $3 billion of beer sales annually.

Or take bottled water, which is purchased by 104 million households, or 84 percent of all households in the U.S. According to Nielsen, 51 percent of those water drinkers are podcast listeners, with 22 percent identifying themselves as "avid" fans. Podcast fans have a hand in over $2.8 billion worth of water sales annually, the data suggests. So, where should Dasani put its dollars? Listeners of sports podcasts spend the most on water annually, with $56.74 per household. Bottled water is bought by 91.2 percent of households who listen to kid-friendly podcasts, 90.8 percent of religion podcast listeners and 90.6 percent of music fans. Listeners of news and politics podcasts purchase the least amount of bottled water, a still-staggering 89.8 percent.

As for baby food, the audience may be smaller  -- 18 million households in the U.S., with 10 million of them home to a podcast listener -- but they still spend a lot of money. Listeners of religion podcasts spend the most on baby food annually, at $124.91,  with kids/family and sports podcasts close behind at $122. Fans of comedy ($118.40), politics ($117.86) and government ($105.93) podcasts should probably not be targeted with baby food ads, however.

Get more insights in Nielsen's report here.