U.S. Podcasting Industry - Statistics & Facts

Published by Amy Watson, Aug 27, 2019
The term ‘podcast’ is a combination of the words ‘pod’, derived from Apple’s portable media player, the iPod, and 'broadcast'. In 2006, only 22 percent of the adult population in the United States was aware of this term, but this figure rose to 70 percent in 2019, highlighting the increasing popularity of podcasting in the United States. In fact, as of 2019, there were an estimated 86 million podcast listeners in the U.S., a number which is forecast to grow to around 132 million by 2022. This trend is further demonstrated by the fact that around 32 percent of the population reported to have listened to a podcast in the past month in 2019, a huge increase from the nine percent recorded in 2008.

Listening at home remains the most popular location for podcast consumption followed by listening in a car or truck while commuting. The ever-increasing accessibility of smartphones and other consumer electronics devices has helped podcasting to spread as a form of entertainment and become a part of daily life. Podcasting has grown to incorporate entertainment programs, talk shows, and even news. In fact, around six percent of the population reported that they were daily consumers of podcasts as a source of news, and another nine percent had listened a few times per week.

National Public Radio (NPR) is the leading podcast publisher in the United States, with a unique monthly audience of over 18 million users as of May 2019. Using the reputation and influence from its massive U.S. based following, NPR has also become the leading podcast publisher worldwide, accumulating over 140 million unique streams and downloads in May of 2019. 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 an appealing combination of entertainment and practical knowledge that has become popular among listeners.

Although the podcasting industry is healthy and growing, its popularity seems to be highly variant between demographics. People between the ages of 18 and 34 are the most frequent consumers, but its popularity among this age group does not translate well to the younger generations. In addition, the consumption of podcasting seems to vary significantly based on income level, with those on a high income consuming far more than listeners earning lower salaries. In order to continue growth, podcast publishers and producers will need to find ways to target these unrepresented segments of the entertainment market by providing content options that appeal to wide range of demographics.

Interesting statistics

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Podcasting in the U.S.

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Important key figures

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Consumer behavior

Demographics

Device and source usage

Top podcasts

Interesting Statista reports

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