Canada’s digital audio audience is growing faster than any other digital medium we track in the country, including digital video viewers and social media users. This year, digital audio will match terrestrial radio in listenership and exceed it in engagement, according to our forecasts.
Our time spent with audio forecast tipped in favor of digital audio for the first time last year. The reduction in commuting during the pandemic suppressed radio consumption: Just 77% of survey respondents in Canada said they traveled in a car in 2021, compared with 92% in 2020, according to Edison Research’s Infinite Dial Canada 2021 report. Remote working, which is still common in much of the country, will continue to buoy digital audio consumption in the years ahead. The time spent gap will widen this year and next. (Our updated forecast for time spent with digital audio and radio will publish in June 2022.)
Almost two-thirds of the population in Canada will listen to digital audio this year. Over the past five years, nearly 5 million new listeners began streaming audio, swelling the ranks of listenership by about 25%. Much of that growth is due to the quality of streaming music services available to local listeners. But it’s also related to the increased consumption of talk formats, including podcasts and the repurposing of terrestrial radio programming for digital distribution.