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The Medium Moves the Message

The Medium Moves the Message

A comparative study of the effects of advertising across three platforms: two broadcast channels (AM/FM Radio, Network/Cable TV) and one on-demand platform, podcasting.

By Tom Webster

March 22, 2023

The Medium Moves the Message is a comparative study of the effects of advertising across three platforms: two broadcast channels (AM/FM Radio, Network/Cable TV) and one on-demand platform, Podcasting.

This study of 2000+ Americans 18+ examined consumer attitudes towards advertising on all three platforms, demographic differences in core audiences, and how listeners and viewers respond to the brands that support their favorite shows and stations. Research requires a lot of hard work and support, and we couldn’t have done it without the following sponsors:

The Barometer
ESPN Podcasts


The centerpiece of the study is a look at four key brand health measures (awareness, favorability, consideration, and taking action/purchase behavior) for five of the largest advertisers by share of voice in each of the three platforms. Brands studied include:

  • Domino’s
  • Progressive
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Subway
  • Indeed
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Upside
  • Babbel
  • BetterHelp
  • Athletic Greens
  • Shopify
  • McDonald’s

The principal findings of this study include:

  • Podcasting’s weekly reach 18-34 is nearing that of radio and TV.
  • The median age of heavy users of radio and tv is significantly older than that of heavy listeners to podcasts.
  •  Podcast buys reach net-new consumers when added to TV or Radio buys.
  • Podcast listeners are more likely to subscribe to premium, ad-free content options.
  • Podcast listeners are significantly more positive towards the brands that support the medium than Radio listeners or TV viewers.
  • The leading advertisers in podcasting perform significantly better in lower-funnel metrics with podcast listeners than the leading advertisers in TV and Radio do with their consumers.
  • The addition of podcasts to a multichannel media mix shows significant mid-funnel effects.

The Medium Moves the Message was conducted by Sounds Profitable in partnership with Signal Hill Insights. The study was conducted in February, 2023, using an online survey of 2,002 Americans 18+, weighted to the demographics of the US population according to the most recent Census data.

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For the first time, more podcast listeners say that they have watched a podcast in the last 30 days than have listened to one. Yet, simply popping your pod on YouTube is likely to fail. So, what are podcasters to do? Sound You Can See dives into consumer perceptions of podcasts on video — and how they continue to drive the future of this medium. The study examines differences in perceptions between video primaries and audio primaries, from preferred topics and genres to the surprising demographic that “listens” to more than half of their podcasts on YouTube. We will also look at when podcast consumers choose one over the other.

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