American-based podcasts continue to grow in popularity attracting millions of consumers worldwide.
Data acquired by Finbold.com indicates that as of October 2020, the top leading podcast publishers in the United States hit 1.06 billion downloads and streams globally.
iHeartRadio leads with about 266 million downloads accounting for about 26% of the downloads. NPR has the second-highest download at 219 million, followed by New York Times’ 155 million downloads at streams. PRX has the fourth-highest downloads and streams at 8 million, while ESPN/ABC closed the top five categories with 74.3 million downloads.
Other leading podcasts publishers with more downloads and streams include; Wondery (58.1 million), Barstool Sports (57.6 million), Daily Wire (49.8 million), TED (49.4 million), and NBC News (47 million).
Why iHeartRadio remains the top podcast publisher
iHeartRadio emerges as the leading podcast publisher with more publishers by virtue of being among the pioneer platforms. With growing competition, iHeart has reinvented itself in the industry by launching features like the podcast recommendation engine. The engine has been vital in growing the number of downloads and streams as it recommends podcasts to listeners based on references.
Notably, iHeartRadio’s acquisition of Stuff Media meant that the publisher would continue having the edge over other players. Stuff Media is a pioneer podcast network. The acquisition has doubled iHeart listenership globally.
Additionally, publishers like iHeartRadio and NPR remain on top as they have the budget to promote some of their shows on radio hence the drive-in popularity. The most successful publishers are home to podcasts that are host driven as most listen want companionship.
Overall, different publishers are jostling for listeners who have propelled podcasts to new heights in terms of popularity. Most of the publishers aim to make podcasts easy for consumers to listen to. Ease of access is among the contributing factors behind the popularity of podcasts.
The rise in podcast popularity also coincides with a general increase in digital media consumption, specifically mobile devices. With smartphones, listening to quality podcasts has become limitless. The audio explosion covers anything from politics and sports to pop culture and investigative journalism.
During the coronavirus pandemic, podcasts also witnessed massive growth. With people under lockdown and in isolation podcasts emerged as a source of entertainment and information on varied topics. Most consumers leveraged more on the personal and intimate touch associated with podcasts.
Podcasts join the marketing mix
Additionally, both major media organizations and independent producers are embracing podcasts as a way to reach an engaged audience with long-form content. From the data, print news outlets like the New York Times are viewing podcasts as the possible outlets for their news content; even as physical publishing continues to diminish. They are therefore leveraging on podcasts as the possible outreach for consumers.
With the growing user base, podcasts have solidified their place in the marketing world. More marketers have plans to leverage the growing influence of popular podcast hosts. Podcast hosts are becoming trusted influencers with loyal communities.
Over recent years, the uninterrupted growth has allowed for podcasts to develop into a widely popular and influential medium. Audiences trust podcasters and a lot of brands are slowly starting to invest large sums in podcast advertising.