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I'll listen while...

Each of us has our own preferences and content consumption routines. Some prefer to be more informed, others more entertained, and others do a balance between the two. Some people resort to a book for that, others turn on the TV and use their cell phones as a second screen all the time, others almost exclusively use social networks as a source of everything... there are also those who prefer to play games and those who, like Grandma Iba, prefer to read the Zero Hora newspaper every morning.

The fact is that audio has entered - and remained - in the routine of more and more people, either as a format for information and instruction, or as entertainment, or to deepen what you know about a subject you like. Whether through shorter content, episodes, longer content, or even short programs of up to 20 minutes, as Snippet has been doing. And for most people, audio has been a great ally and companion for those activities where you have your body busy doing something or moving from one point to another, but your head is free enough to consume something while doing that activity.

Until recently music was the most natural choice - not to say the only one, because there are digital radio apps - for this headset moment. Of course there are the subway players and the people who run on the treadmill watching TV shows, something that I admit makes me sick in a few minutes :/

But this natural choice of music has given way to audio content, more and more. The numbers are increasingly impressive, in the amount of people who weekly, and often daily, listen to some audio content other than music: podcasts, audiobooks or audio dramas (or story casts, a term I discovered this week to define narrative podcasts).

According to the IAB Podcast Advertising Guide, 35% of people who say they listen to podcasts do so 3 or more times a week and another 20% at least twice a week. Of those listeners, 86% consume them on their smartphone, compared to 42% on a computer and 11% on a tablet.

Also in this study, 53% of people say they listen podcasts to know more about something they like and 48% to learn something.

Another study, done by Grupo Globo and Ibope, revealed that 44% of people listen while doing domestic activities, 24% while commuting, 20% during physical activities, and another 18% together with personal care. A large portion (38%) consumes it while surfing the internet. Something very interesting is also that 57% of the interviewees said they started using it during the pandemic.

When we talk about audiobooks, which are longer narratives and can be consumed in chapters, just as storycasts can be consumed in episodes, at Storytel we have a consumption pattern that is higher during the week and during the day. In our user surveys, the consumption of while appears as clear as the numbers in the studies above.

Of course there is another side, also relevant and interesting: people who use audio as a consumption to mitigate screen fatigue and be able to entertain and inform themselves without having to look at a monitor, a cell phone or a TV. But for all the numbers that the industry has at the moment this type of consumption is the exception, but no less important...even more so as an ally for screen fatigue.

This reinforces my thought that audio has delimited a territory where most consumption will occur: the while. A type of consumption that helps you get through mechanical and sometimes boring activities or in moving from one point to another.

But while music can also have a choice of consumption of the while, it has a social aspect, of being consumed at parties, gatherings of friends, or even that background content that makes an ambiance to avoid silence. TV and video, on the other hand, also have an individual consumption characteristic, but they also have another aspect - besides cinema, of course - of group consumption, like watching an animation with the kids, a movie with friends, or a series with your partner. Audio does not have - or has very little - this social aspect, of gathering a group of people to put a podcast or an audiobook on the speaker and everyone listens to it, or even to marathon a storycast with your crush on the weekend. As always, there are exceptions where audio is social... here at home each trip has its own playlist of episodes and chapters :)

Even with these exceptions, the rule is that audio has mostly this type of consumption, the while. This even implies a care in the content and production, since the narrative has to hold the listener and consider that he is not with 100% of his attention dedicated there. At the same time, audio has already shown to have a very powerful power of empathy, connection, and identification between content and listener. This article (in Portuguese) shows the power of content consumed over headphones.

And you, have you been producing content to be consumed by this gigantic amount of listeners, who are growing and will grow even more? Are you also a listener of the while, or are you one who sits on the couch, puts on the play, closes his eyes and forgets about the world?


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