Survey by Next Broadcast Media finds Gen Z and Millennials in Saudi prefer podcasts during Ramadan

A new survey conducted by Next Broadcast Media, for Saudi Arabia residents gives insights into audio consumption habits for podcasts, digital radio, music streaming, and commercial FM radio during Ramadan. The data shows increased consumption of podcasts and preferences for streaming during the Holy Month.

Lemya Soltani, managing director at Next Broadcast Media says “Technology, the pandemic, and lifestyle shifts have all contributed towards communities in Saudi Arabia changing their behaviours and habits. Our goal with this survey was to shed light on these new preferences so brands can adapt strategies based on fact, and be more effective this Ramadan.”

Next Broadcast Media surveyed 1,316 KSA residents aged 18-65 years, between February and March 2022, and discovered significant shifts in audio consumption.

“We see the older generations are most likely to be decreasing or ceasing audio consumption during Ramadan. There is also an overall average drop in music listening too. On the other hand, compared to streaming and radio, podcasts aren’t as affected. The demand for podcast content is still there during Ramadan, and it’s high” says Soltani.

Podcasts see an overall 22% additional uplift in consumption during Ramadan. It’s the digital natives that are predominantly listening, with 45% of regular Gen Z and Millennials podcast listeners tuning in more or the same amount. Compared to just 25% for older generations. The survey also shows that 30% of Gen Z and Millennials will listen to podcasts all day long during Ramadan, and 28% dedicate time to listening after iftar hours.

The increase in podcast demand has not gone unnoticed by leading platforms that start to prominently feature Ramadan-inspired content during this time of year.

“Apple Podcasts is a prime example of a platform catering to demand,” says Soltani

“During Ramadan, Apple Podcast creates super-rooms dedicated to local content, Ramadan topics and Muslim podcasters. These rooms are featured on the home screen of the Middle East app, making it easier for consumers to find relevant shows. Also, for the last two years, Spotify and NPR have emphasised Muslim voices during Ramadan, creating and promoting a collection of podcasts featuring celebrities, athletes, and influencers that are Muslim and discuss related topics”.

Music is the least consumed audio content during Ramadan with 76% of total respondents saying they stop listening to music altogether during this time.  For the 24% that continue listening, it is more likely to be digital audio than FM Radio; with 27% still streaming music,  20% using digital radio, and just 13% tuning into commercial radio.

Millennials and Gen Z are least likely to give up streaming music than radio during Ramadan. We see a 33% decreasing their consumption of FM Radio, whereas only a 20% decrease in streaming music.

Soltani adds “We believe more people continue streaming music during Ramadan than commercial radio because they have full control of what they hear and when. We also know from our survey that 60% of Saudi residents are connecting to podcasts and music in their car, which hugely reduces the opportunities for commercial radio to be consumed when commuting”

While the core values of the Holy Month remain unchanged: devotion, generosity and reflection, Next Broadcast Media’s survey highlight how younger Muslim generations are utilising on-demand digital content to navigate their Ramadan days. Marketers can add podcasts and digital audio to plans to connect with the digitally-savvy, active Muslim in innovative and meaningful ways.