Hooked on audio! Unveiling the secrets of podcast stickiness through social identity and uses and gratification theories

Sheng-Wei Lin  and Chia-Ding Huang

The study integrated the social identity theory and the uses and gratification theory in probing factors behind the stickiness of audience to podcast programs, mainly in the two dimensions of perceived characteristics of the podcast creator (identity similarity, identity uniqueness, identity prestige, sincerity, and self-disclosure) and perceived podcast features (entertaining, narrative transportation, and multitasking). Podcast creator characteristics can affect audience stickiness via their psychological response (wishful identification, parasocial relationship). The study was conducted via a questionnaire survey, soliciting 302 valid responses and employing the partial least squares technique for testing hypotheses. The study finds that except for identity distinctiveness and self-disclosure, all the other podcast creator characteristics positively influence the audience’s psychological response and, thus, their stickiness to podcasts. Among podcast program nature, both entertaining and narrative transportation affect podcast stickiness significantly, but multitasking has no significant influence. The study provides theoretical and practical insight into the audience stickiness issue for digital audio media podcasts.

Technology in Society, Volume 76, 2024,