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French Canada & English Canada—Two Distinct Podcasting Realities?

For the most part, podcast listening in Canada looks pretty much like the U.S.. Listening continues its steady growth on both sides of the border.

But there is a uniquely Canadian reality at play here. English-speaking Canadians are much more likely than French-speaking Canadians to embrace podcasts.

This is one of the early findings from The Canadian Podcast Listener 2018, a follow-up to our 2017 landscape study, co-published by Audience Insights Inc and Ulster Media, and supported by The Podcast Exchange (TPX).

More than one-quarter (26%) of Canadian adults listen to podcasts monthly—the same percentage that Edison Research reports among Americans aged 12+.

However, we see a very different picture when we compare English Canada to French Canada. Nearly 3-in-10 English Canadians (28%) listened in the past month compared to fewer than 2-in-10 French Canadians (18%). There’s an even bigger gap when it comes to those who have ever listened to podcasts, with English Canadians (49%) nearly twice as likely as French Canadians (28%) to have ever listened.

This is something of a familiar path. Historically, new media platforms have not been adopted as quickly in French Canada as in English Canada. Going back to the 90s, internet access was slower to develop among French Canadians. And more recently, in their Communications Monitoring Report 2017, the CRTC shows lower use of personalized music streaming services and fewer subscribers to satellite radio in French Canada.

A shortage of French-language content may well explain the big difference in podcast listening. In our follow-up survey of 1,534 monthly podcast listeners from across Canada, we asked listeners to list up to 10 podcasts they listened to in the past month. A total of 1,778 unique podcasts were identified from the very long tail of podcasts currently available. But there's a decidedly shorter tail for French language podcasts, representing only 86 (or 4.8%) of that total.

What podcasts are French Canadians listening to? In what language? From what sources? These are some of the questions we are digging into as we crunch the data for The Canadian Podcast Listener 2018, to be released this Fall.

We will be sharing more key findings from the study in early October with a high-level overview that we will make available publicly. Additional highlights will be presented October 10 at the RAIN SUMMIT CANADA conference in Toronto. The conference will include panels, presentation and commentary on podcasting and digital audio. The RAIN website has more details:

The full, in-depth report of The Canadian Podcast Listener 2018 will be available by subscription. If you’d like more information, you can reach us here where you can also download the 2017 landscape study.

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