2010 Podcast Listeners Survey Discussion

edited July 2010 in Story Games
This discussion started in the "Stuff to Watch" thread for July. Here's a link to the RPG Podcast Listeners Survey Results and Analysis document under discussion.
Posted By: Ice Cream EmperorI'm only through the first few pages but the Education Level and Earning statisticsdesperatelyneed to be compared to statistics forpodcast listeners in general. I don't know if statistics on podcast listeners in general exist, but until you can correct for the (presumably) self-evident fact that people who listen to podcasts are more likely to be educated and more likely to be wealthy, these categories aren't going to tell us much of anything about RPG players.
That's a very good point. I wanted the doc to be short and to the point, so I didn't include a lot of methodology and historical comparisons. I did take a look at this last year found that the basic demographics of listeners lines up well with the scant info we have on roleplayers in general. But It's also arguable that the advancing age of the gamer population is more responsible for the higher education levels and incomes than the nature of RPGs. (I don't have any access to demographics on all podcast listeners and I don't think we'll ever see any.)

Here are some demographics from 2004 Gencon attendees (I had 2009 data, but the link doesn't work anymore). The income data from was in different brackets and being 6 years old isn't really comparable, but I think you can see from these education and age stats (remember, add 6 years and the brackets are slightly different) that the listener sample is pretty close to the Gencon sample:
13 to 17 3%
18 to 24 5%
25 to 34 44%
35 to 44 37%
45 to 54 8%
55 or over 4%

Some high school or less 6%
High school graduate 0%
Some college 25%
Vocational or technical school 4%
College graduate 49%
Postgraduate degree 20%
Now both groups, Gencon attendees and RPG podcast listeners, are arguably super-gamers. They are much more involved in their hobby than most who pick up the dice. But this is a pretty involving hobby and those super-gamers are who companies, game designers, and podcasts want to target because they buy more games and spread those games. They are the vector for the idea germs.

One important way that listeners are different for Gencon attendees is that fewer listeners are female. The 2009 Gencon demographics and the Ryan Dancey WotC Survey from 2000 both show 19% of tabletop roleplayers are female and our listener data from this year is 7% women (up slightly from last year). While the old WotC survey is the best source of data on "average" roleplayers, it's much harder to compare since the focus of that survey is on spending and the data is now 10 years old.
Posted By: Ice Cream Emperor(Edit: and while I'm at it, in the last section the author suggests that 'The Game Master Show' does better among women listeners -- but it actually has a lower percentage among women's listeners than it does among men. It just doesn't show up on the women's list because the women's list is a top 11, not a top 20.)
"The Game Master Show" is #9 among women, #23 among all listeners. That was my basis for making that conclusion. Yes, it's a lower percentage, but remember that all respondents could pick all the shows they listen to and women listen to far fewer podcasts on average. So they are choosing to listen to "The Game Master Show" over a lot of other shows higher on the general list. But it's a judgment call and I tried to present as thorough a set of information as possible so that folks like you can draw their own conclusion and disregard mine. In fact, my intent in drawing such conclusions is to draw attention to interesting trends, not to put a lot of stock in the conclusion itself.


  • Now there's an audio companion to the survey results. It's an episode of the Brilliant Gameologists, so it's not safe for work.
  • I've taken some of the data from the survey and mapped everyone who entered a zip code or international postal code onto Google Earth. See if you can find yourself!
  • Posted By: scottdunphyNow both groups, Gencon attendees and RPG podcast listeners, are arguably super-gamers. They are much more involved in their hobby than most who pick up the dice.
    Also, GenCon is a national/international event, so it 'attracts' people who can actually afford to travel to Indianapolis to attend. Much like podcasts attract people who own computers and computers attract people who can afford to buy them, etc. etc. Really my desire to see a correction for podcast listeners in general was just a desire to see correction for income, before conclusions are drawn about education levels and their relationship to gamers or RPGs. I agree that age is probably a factor too, though I don't know much about the relationship between age, income and education.

    Anyways, glad to see a response.
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