Around 29% of podcast listeners claim they ‘always listen’ to brand-funded podcasts and over half saying they ‘sometimes’ listen.
Around 86% of podcast listeners tune in to brand-funded podcasts, according to a report into the market in Saudi Arabia by Markettiers MENA.
The new statistics reveal the huge potential when it comes to tapping into engaged, targetted audiences, with 29% of podcast listeners saying they ‘always listen’ to brand-funded podcasts and over half saying they ‘sometimes’ listen.
The average length of a podcast in the Kingdom is 43 minutes. The new statistics also highlighted the spending power that exists amongst regular listeners. Podcast fans spend on average 17% more on food and drink than their non-podcast listener counterparts, 19% more on travel and entertainment and 11% more on in-home spend.
The report builds on the initial findings released in April, which showed that 15% (5.1m) of the population tune in at least once a week (comparable to 16% or 1.3m in the UAE). And when it comes to devices, three quarters (75%) use their smartphones to listen to podcasts.
Podcast listeners in Saudi Arabia have come to show near-absolute trust in the medium (93% somewhat or highly trustworthy). Listeners trust podcasts more than radio, as well as local/regional newspapers and websites.
The report also highlighted statistics when it comes to the type of content people are listening to in Saudi Arabia. Technology-driven podcasts lead in popularity, with 63% listening to this genre. Music is a close second, comedy, news and sports genres are not far behind.
Podcasts featuring strong and inspiring women are also seeing huge traction, which mirrors the research which highlights that one in four women (20%) tune into podcasts at least once a week.
More than two-thirds like listening to podcasts for the content they are specifically interested in, as well as over three-fifths (61%) enjoying the freedom to listen while they do other things.
When it comes to listenership, podcasts in Saudi swing both in Arabic and English and localised content is winning over the big global exports. In Saudi Arabia, podcast listeners listen as a family (56%), with their partner (54%) and with friends (47%). Only 21% say they only listen to podcasts by themselves.
With people buying smart devices and placing them in communal areas, Saudi Arabia could soon lead the way in the region when it comes to the future of podcasting.
Commenting on the report, Cheryl King, Managing Director, Markettiers MENA, said: “It was our involvement at the Middle East Podcast Forum last October that spurred us to deliver this report, as we were continually being told of the burgeoning podcast landscape in Saudi Arabia, but there were not any numbers to quantify it – until now. Our report confirms an active, loyal audience and in a culture that values audio and trades off trust, podcasts represent a way to reach an engaged audience in a way like never before.
“Looking forward, as listeners expect, the best podcasts are not viewed by their brands as content add-ons, but as major campaigns, with substantial creative, social and financial investment underneath. But no mistake about it, for a brand wanting to reach a specific audience in Saudi, the time is now to act. The audience is there, the appetite is univocal, and the metrics for measurement highlight the huge relatively untapped opportunity that’s waiting to be seized.”
Peter Mitchell, Group Managing Director of Markettiers and co-founder of 4DC, the company’s podcast strategy division, added: “What we’ve seen during the pandemic is that brands are innovating, being bold and willing to take more risks to try something different. The old ways of doing things do not exist anymore, so brands have had to decide how they want to play in this new world where there is no rule book on ‘how to do things’ post a global pandemic.
“You’d be forgiven for thinking the numbers for Saudi aren’t ‘mass-market’, but the figures are anything but. This is not about reaching mass generic audiences, but it is everything about niche targeting with zero wastage. We have seen this realised through remote internal comms podcasting. Audiences are disparate, organisations in Saudi are huge, and the one thing that unites everyone is the device they carry around in their pockets every day: their smartphone. So brands have started to embrace podcasting as a hugely effective means to engage audiences through a mobile-first strategy.”