As awareness and usage has grown, so has consumption frequency. Data from a study conducted in early 2022 showed that 38 percent of the U.S. population reported to have listened to a podcast in the past month, more than three times the share recorded a decade earlier. The audience of podcasts is increasingly diverse. While the format is being consumed by both, female and male consumers, male listeners slightly outweighing the female counterpart with a share of 53 percent. While older generations also tune in, the main group consuming podcasts is the age group of 12 to 34 year-olds.
National Public Radio and iHeartRadio are competing for market dominance
When it comes to publishers, National Public Radio (NPR) is one of the leaders the United States, normally drawing in a unique monthly audience of over 18 million listeners. Using the reputation and influence from its massive U.S. based following, NPR also ranks among the top podcast publishers worldwide, accumulating hundreds of millions of unique streams and downloads each month. The success of NPR can be attributed mainly to its unique content; a number of its podcasts, such as NPR Politics Podcast, TED Radio Hour, Planet Money, and Fresh Air offer listeners a combination of entertainment and practical knowledge that has become popular among listeners. However, in 2022, the most popular podcast publishers were iHeartPodcasts followed by Wondery.
NPR competes with iHeartRadio for the top spot when it comes to listeners and downloads both in the United States and worldwide, with iHeartRadio having built up a solid lead over NRP in recent years. Podcasts can be a lucrative source of revenue for media companies, evidenced by iHeartMedia which filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and emerged with revenue of over 3.68 billion U.S. dollars at the end of the following year thanks to its digital and podcasting endeavors. Meanwhile, the format’s growing popularity and potential led music streaming giant Spotify to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on podcast-related acquisitions, including award-winning company Gimlet. Even retail behemoth Amazon is intending to get involved in the industry, paving the way for disruptions and competition in the market.
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