Reports Media & Marketing

Podcast audiences Competing for attention

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View: 2020 was a big year for podcasts, with increased investment, M&A activity and industry moves. Audiences grew too, but still lag behind in hype and expectation, and a portion of this growth has come at the direct expense of music streaming and radio. Podcasts are helping drive an audio renaissance, but one in which the benefits are not evenly distributed.

Key insights

  • Apple’s Podcasts+ launch indicates that the podcasts sector is nearing an inflection point, ready to build from its early adopter phase
  • Podcast user penetration is stable, registering        in        2020, with adoption peaking among        year olds at        and dropping to        for teens and        for        year olds
  • Spotify remains the platform consumers are most likely to go to for podcasts, used by        of podcast users. Apple saw its rate fall from        in        2020 to        in        2020
  • Spotify had        million podcast listeners in        2020 but monetisation lags and annual podcast advertising ARPU fell from        in 2019 to        in 2020
  • Podcast audiences are still relatively weakly engaged: just        of podcast monthly active users listen daily, compared to        for music streaming and        for radio
  • Similarly, podcast listeners mostly only engage with a relatively small number of shows –        listen to one to two shows a week and just        listen to more than two
  • More than a third of music streaming and radio weekly active users report listening to more audio overall because of podcasts, but more than a quarter of each are listening to less live radio and less music because of podcasts
  • Podcast content that is successful now may not be reflective of what will find success as the podcast audience becomes increasingly mainstream

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon, Apple, Google, Podcasts+, Spotify, Sveriges Radio, Warner Music Group, Wondery

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