Although there are some marketers that believe podcasts are overhyped, that doesn’t diminish the popularity they have with listeners. Indeed, the average unique monthly audience for the top 10 podcast publishers in the US increased by more than one-third (37%) year-over-year (y-o-y) in January 2020, per Podtrac.com’s Top Podcast Publishers ranking.
NPR was the top podcast publisher in January with a US unique monthly audience (UMA) of more than 23.7 million. iHeartRadio, which also boasts the second-highest number of paid monthly visitors for music streaming, ranked second for UMA, at 21.9 million. These trailblazers were well ahead of Wondery (#3; 10.2 million UMA) and PRX (#4; 9.3 million UMA).
Interestingly, NPR managed to claim the #1 spot despite having considerably fewer active podcasts than iHeartRadio (64 vs 354). As if to solidify the fact that the number of active shows does not guarantee a larger unique audience, the New York Times, which rounds out the top-5 publishers for January with 9.3 million UMA, had the lowest number of active podcasts (10) of the top 10 publishers.
Moreover, when it comes to global unique streams and downloads, the New York Times moves up to third, with 93.2 million, after NPR (185.0 million) and iHeartRadio (177.7 million)
Per Podtrac.com’s data, global unique streams and downloads in January 2020 for the top-10 publishers increased by 20% from December 2019. Additionally, IAB certified downloads across all measured publishers hit 1.3 billion in January, which represents a 21% uptick from the month before.
Separate data suggests that Spotify may soon be joining the top list of publishers. While it has been one of the top distributors of podcasts, ranking below only Apple Podcasts as a destination for listeners to access podcasts, it has been reported that the music streaming giant has spent about $600 million in the past year to acquire podcast businesses.
The full list of top publishers can found here.
About the Data: Figures are based on the total mobile and desktop podcast audience. The unique monthly audience refers to “the total of unique audience members who stream or download the publisher’s podcast content across all shows they produce.”