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Podcast Listeners are Overwhelmingly Tuned In to AI and Say it’s Poised to Redefine the Medium, Acast Study Finds

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June 29, 2023

-82% support to improve sound quality

-80% embrace translation technology to defy language barriers

-65% approve of advertisers leveraging AI to serve relevant ad content

-Nearly three-quarters approve of AI to suggest similar episode recommendations

Acast, the world’s largest independent podcast company, today unveiled the results of a new study that explores the sentiment of podcast listeners towards potential use cases of AI on the medium. The study, which specifically examined weekly podcast listeners in the US market, discovered that podcast listeners are heavily leaned in to the technology for its ability to create a personalized storytelling experience, improved listening quality, relevant advertising, and more.

“At Acast, we know that podcast audiences tend to be more aware of and interested in technology compared to most other mediums, so it’s no surprise that our research found listeners to be so interested in AI. However, what is unexpected about this study is just how open listeners are to AI infiltrating nearly every aspect of their current listening experience and for the technology to mold new ways for them to engage with the medium,” said Research and Insights Director at Acast, Tommy Walters. 

According to the study, podcast listeners are most interested in AI being used to enhance the quality of the listening experience, with 82% saying they support the use of AI to improve the sound by removing background noise, normalizing audio levels, and identifying and removing filler words or long pauses. Listeners are also interested in how the technology can be used to break down language barriers as 80% said they support the use of AI for translating captions to various languages and allowing listeners across the world to enjoy them regardless of spoken language.

Podcast listeners are also supportive of how AI will potentially improve the overall accessibility and discoverability of the medium. In fact, 79% support the use of speech recognition to automatically transcribe  podcast episodes to make them searchable and accessible. Another 78% of respondents said they support the use of AI to generate captions in real time in order to make episodes more accessible to deaf audiences. Additionally, 74% said they support the use of AI to suggest specific podcast episodes highly relevant to a topic being discussed in the podcast being listened to and 72% support AI helping them to better discover relevant podcasts.

Respondents were also interested in how AI could potentially be used to create a more holistic and informative listening experience. In fact, 72% said they support AI serving them educational and informative materials related to the podcast while they are listening and 61% support its use for automatically generating video content to watch along with the podcast. The study also found 64% of podcast listeners were supportive of AI being used to provide truth scores or suggestions of false statements being made to inform listeners. Additionally, 69% were interested in the use of AI to highlight relevant Tweets or social media traffic that happened because of a discussion within a podcast episode.

Beyond their own listening experience, podcast audiences also support the use of AI by podcasters to improve their craft. According to the report, 77% support AI-generated reports on listener drop off rates during the episode to better inform podcasters about what is and what is not working in their podcast. An additional 72% of respondents also support AI-generated reports that give podcasters insights into what similar podcasts are discussing to help them create more relevant and unique content. Another 65% said they support podcasters using AI to research and prepare for a podcast episode.

These findings align with a separate study Acast conducted in January of this year on the use of ChatGPT in podcasting, which found that 85% of podcast listeners believe that it’s ethical for podcasters to use AI tools to create podcast content. Interestingly, though, in this January study just 57% of podcast listeners said that they expect ChatGPT and similar tools will improve the quality of podcast content. The change in this sentiment infers that podcast listeners may be quickly realizing the full potential of AI tools across various aspects of the medium.

In fact, according to the most recent research, podcast listeners are also supportive of the use of AI for podcast advertising. In fact, 65% of listeners said they support the use of AI for serving them relevant advertising content. When it comes to voice simulations, 56% of listeners said they support podcasters leveraging AI to simulate them reading an ad instead of doing the host-read themselves.

The news of this research comes as Podchaser, an Acast subsidiary, recently launched Collections+, an AI-powered capability to allow advertisers to expand their reach in podcasting and refine their targeting further than ever before. Developed and tested with Acast, Collections+ is now available to any hosting provider, ad platform or marketplace in the industry looking to enhance its own targeting offering for advertisers.

Download the full study on AI in Podcasting here.

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