Reports Media & Marketing

State of the Podcast Nation

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Podcasts are an overnight success many years in the making. Podcasts were first added to Apple’s iTunes ecosystem in 2005, only to then spend a long time in the shadows. Now, however, they occupy the centre stage with radio companies, podcast vendors, streaming services and traditional media companies alike all trying to carve out roles. As with all emerging sectors, it is important to distil the hype from the reality, but even when taking a more cautious view, there are signs of a vibrant ecosystem emerging that is arguably the first entirely new media sector since the emergence of console games. Whereas most digital content markets have been new platforms for old businesses, podcasts are a new format for spoken word content with a marketplace of new creators and vendors. 


  • Monthly podcast            penetration across the US, Canada,            and the UK rose from                       2018 to            in            2019, with            growth occurring in            2019
  • Podcasts and            are competing for share of            over the same period and            monthly radio listeners fell from                      
  • The average            of podcast listeners is            compared                       for streaming music users and            radio listeners
  • Podcasts listeners            more than twice as likely            be Spotify users
  • Music is            most popular genre among podcast            at            penetration, followed by entertainment                      
  • Males over-index            sports podcasts, while females are            likely to listen to educational,            and interview podcasts 


  • The emerging            ecosystem is being driven by            factors:            a content renaissance,            strong,            monetisation, and            a growing audience
  • Podcasts are            Netflix moment for radio, creating            golden era for radio and            content
  • Radio faces            strategic pincer movement with streaming            for music audiences and podcasts            spoken word
  • Podcast creators            earn around            of revenue, compared            between            and            for music artists
  • There are            key types of advertiser interaction            podcasts, each of which give            the chance to get close            audiences


  • Radio still            listening with            of all audio            in North America and            in            in 2018, with podcasts at                       and           
  • There were            monthly podcast listeners globally in            with North America and Asia            accounting for the majority of                       million)
  • By 2026            will be            million podcast listeners            growth close to a straight            in most markets, in contrast            the maturing streaming music market
  • Podcasts represent            long-term, steady transition of radio            however, revenues will grow much            due to rapidly-improving monetisation
  • Global podcast            will increase from            billion in            to            billion in 2026
  • In 2018            podcast ad revenues were at            with North America accounting for            majority on            million
  • Advertiser budget            and improved monetisation will see            podcast ad revenue reach            billion            2026

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:  Acast, AdsWizz, Anchor, Apple, Audioboom, Aviva, BBC, Chartable, Crooked Media, DAX, The Economist, Global Media, Google Play, The History of England, JOE Media, Luminary Media, Mailchimp, Netflix, NPR, Patreon, Sounds, Spotify, Triton Digital, WBEZ, Wondery