Tuesday, March 31, 2020

18% of Adults Say They’re Listening More to Podcasts

The coronavirus pandemic has tested podcasts’ reliance on a commuting audience, but new polling from Morning Consult shows the public is actually tuning in more over the past few weeks, with larger growth among younger people, as many consumers adjust to a new work-from-home normal.

“We had a hunch that, while all of our lives have been disrupted in crazy ways, podcast listening might actually increase as people are looking for more content to fill their time,” Conal Byrne, iHeartMedia Inc. podcast network president, said.

About a week ago, iHeartMedia, one of the largest publishers of podcasts, saw a slight uptick in their network of about 350 shows compared to the prior week, Byrne said.

Eighteen percent of U.S. adults said they are listening to podcasts more than they did before they started social distancing and self-isolating, per a March 24-26 poll conducted by Morning Consult, while 10 percent said they’re listening less, creating a net increase of 8 percentage points.

Acast, a global podcast company that offers hosting, analytics and monetization services to creators, found similar growth figures. The weekend of March 21-22 was the biggest ever for its network of more than 10,000 shows, with listens up 7 percent globally compared to the weekend prior, and up 10 percent in the United States alone.

Podcast networks are not holding back launches of new shows, and some have even pushed up launch dates to meet demands for content. Podcast company Cadence13 launched a new show and introduced the beginning of the second season of its “Gangster Capitalism” podcast last week. Both shows brought in new listeners for the network, said Chris Corcoran, chief content officer.

Podcast analytics site Podtrac, on the other hand, reported a dip in downloads — which differ from raw hits or listens to a show — after March 9 through March 22 for the thousands of podcasts it tracks. Downloads in the United States dropped 1 percent during the week of March 9 and 2 percent during the week of March 16, according to Podtrac.

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