Podtrac releases first U.S. podcast audience rankings

With its new monthly ranking report, podcast vendor Podtrac has stepped up to address a critical need in the podcast industry.

The report, which uses Podtrac’s proprietary data, ranks podcast publishers based on monthly “unique U.S. audience.” That metric is defined as

the count of individual audience members who listen to shows published by a given publisher. Individuals may listen to multiple shows or multiple episodes of shows from a publisher in a month, but they are only counted once in the monthly Unique Audience metric.

Not surprisingly, NPR tops the April 2016 ranking with nearly 62 million downloads for 32 active shows, and a unique U.S. audience of 7.2 million. Two shows made the top 10 without the help of other network siblings — The Moth and Roman Mars’ 99% Invisible.

See the top 10 ranking by network here.

Podcasts, streaming music enabled in 2016 auto dashboards

Podcasts and streaming audio gain prominence on in-dash displays of connected cars from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Audi and Toyota “while AM/FM may be 3 or 4 clicks away,” notes Steven Goldstein in a blog post from CES. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and custom systems from auto-makers are all battling for the connected driver who likely brings his/her own entertainment to the car via smartphone.

Post-‘Serial’ podcast boom, in one chart

We hear plenty of anecdotal evidence about a boom in podcasting since the phenomenal success of Sarah Koenig’s “Serial” podcast, but concrete data is hard to come by in this fledgling industry. Hats off to Josh Morgan, a podcaster himself, for scraping together 10 years of iTunes data to visualize key trends for the first time. He identifies 60,000 podcasts currently active on iTunes; the largest categories are Christianity, Music and Comedy.

Here is the money shot confirming the ‘Serial’ boom — it plots new podcasts launched over time (‘Serial’ debuted in July 2014):
podcast launch chart 2007-2015

Morgan includes many more charts and insights in his article on Medium, “How Podcasts Have Changed in Ten Years: By the Numbers“.

(Thanks to Nick Quah for pointing out this article in his HotPod newsletter now at NiemanLab.)