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. 

SECTION ONE: AUDIENCE

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

SECTION TWO: MONETISATION

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

SECTION THREE: OUTLOOK

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

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