Super listeners: Should content aim for longer lengths?
The Nieman Lab just published a study saying that some podcast listeners are “superlisteners”. I have Identified thrice with their findings.
That 5-minute video on YouTube — or Gartner’s 3 minutes length podcast publicising some event — are remarkably costly, time-wise. When you are actually looking for meaningful content for the day-to-day life, such as news or a “learn something” kind of thing, or a weekly summary or a political or business commentary, the odds to find something of quality (with a satisfactory publishing pace) is surprisingly low. That is, of course, if you’re not willing to support an aspiring comedian with a podcast or YouTube channel that covers a watered-down version of an interesting topic, making it more palatable, yet superficial and filled with bro-humour.
That’s maybe because our current mediascape is filled with producers that do some good niche stuff, but not that frequently, or producers that produce a lot of stuff, some of them in a certain niche, some of them, occasionally, good. I take, for example, TED Radio Hour or Vice Magazine. Great stuff, but not always covering my cup of tea.
According to Nieman, the super listeners have a few characteristics (and I’ve ticked all of those boxes):
Super listeners consume twice the amount of podcast content compared to generic listeners. “The average number of shows listened to per week was much higher with Knight respondents (13) than with weekly podcast listeners from the Infinite Dial (5),” the report notes.
They are loyal evangelists of the medium. The report notes that 96 percent of surveyed super listeners had recommended a podcast to a friend.
These listeners prefer in-depth content, and increasingly prefer digital consumption over broadcast.
So when you talk about shortform content, you need to take the time to find something worth watching, then you do it, and then you end up having to go through the process all over again.
Instead, commuting listening to 30-40 min. audio or going to bed with a 30min. sleep timer keeps me always learning something new. With no need of going back to the phone every few minutes and go again through the enormous trouble of finding something decent to watch or listen to. I definitely tell my friends about it, and I’m planning myself one.