How Far Has Podcasting Come?

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If you took as an answer to that question the number of people — and the number of new podcasting vendors — attending Podcast Movement in Philadelphia this week, you would say, for sure, that podcasting has come a long way. And, according to Edison Research, there are 48 million people who now listen to podcasts. Not bad. Let’s look at some of the figures being thrown around at the show this week.

Blubrry is a directory of over 530,000 podcasts. According to the company’s CEO Todd Cochrane, 85,000 new shows were created from 2016 to 2017 and 126,000 new shows were created from 2017 to 2018. Of course, many of those shows crash and burn. They fail due to the quality of the content or the host losing interest after realizing it’s just not that easy. Cochrane says the average number of episodes before hosts throw in the towel is three. After three shows, they quit. Cochrane says another factor that plays into hosts quitting is the platform. If a host chooses a platform and that platform does a poor job of promoting the show for the host, nobody will even know it exists.

Hernan Lopez, the CEO and Founder of Wondery.com says his research shows that podcast listeners are now dpownloading about 1 billion episodes per month. And those listeners are downloading nearly 15 episodes or podcasts every month.

According to the Head of Partnerships for hosting platform Spreaker, Rob Greenlee, people, on average, will listen to a (recorded) podcast for about 12 minutes. He says the top podcast categories are Entertainment, Music, Culture, News & Information, and Arts. Greenlee also said the highest percentage of his referrals are coming from iHeartRadio.

So what’s driving the growth of podcasting? The smartphone. In 2012, mobile listening accounted for 40% of podcast listening while computers made up 58%. In 2018, mobile accounts for 82% of podcast listening and computers has dropped to 18%.

And, keep an eye on Spotify and Google. Podcasters are expecting big growth spurts from these two platforms as more podcast content becomes available via Spotify and Google. In fact, Blubrry CEO Todd Cochrane said the Google Podcast initiative is the biggest opportunity for podcasters to double their listenership. He said podcasters have to be on Android devices.

A little side note about Todd Cochrane. He’s been producing the podcast called Geek News Central for 14 years. And in 2005 he wrote the book Podcasting: The Do-It Yourself Guide

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