Podcasts: The New Mainstream

Podcasts are on the rise, the platform that was relatively unknown less than a 5 years ago, is now becoming a major powerhouse and competitor to legacy media. The media has been enjoying a sharp and influential rise over the last few years, with little signs of this changing any time soon.

To get an understanding of the format, the changes it is seeing and where it is potentially going, we have compiled 5 need-to-know statistics to help you navigate this emerging market.

The Size of the Market:

There are over 750,000 active podcasts, and 30 million episodes among them.

This is an explosive rise for the once niche platform, it is increasingly becoming a popular space for creatives, artists and even celebrities. Increased public awareness, ease of creation and simplicity of the format are all contributing factors to this.

Total Scalability:

The annual revenues from podcasting have increased 5x since 2015, from $69 million to $514 million as of this year.

This is a dramatic change for most mediums. It is creating a snowball effect within the market, as more people listen, more podcasters join, which in turn leads to increased investment from advertisers, encouraging more. By just next year, the revenue is expected to increase another 100 million at least.

Target Audience:

In the US alone, 51% of people claim to have listened to a podcast, and 70% are familiar with the format.

This may be largely due to the demographic, with 28% of all listeners coming from ages 24-35. Here in the UK, 6 million people are now regularly listening  to podcasts, with half of them being 35 or under. These numbers have increased dramatically since 2015, as with revenue, and the numbers don’t look to be slowing down.

Genre Influence:

Much like Film, TV and literature, podcasting is broken down into a variety of genre’s – and Comedy seems to be the king.

The genre is also followed by music, TV and Film. This is largely due to the demographic listening as stated in the previous point. Yet, it may also be due to how people are listening to content, as 61.2% of respondents spend more time listening to podcasts than watching TV.

Competition and Collaboration:

While many listeners are doing so instead of TV as previously stated, it isn’t impacting radio, with 96% of podcast listeners also tune into radio.

In part this is likely due to the familiarity of the two formats, with content produced being very similar across both. However radio and TV broadcasters are also accepting the medium. Podcast versions of BBC radio programmes such as Desert Island Discs and Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review feature regularly in Apple’s iTunes podcast chart. In addition, TV broadcasters finding inspiration from podcasts for new TV productions, as with ITV’s podcast Love Island: The Morning After.