BBC Sounds Recaps 2023’s Huge Uptick In Podcast Audience


In 2023, BBC Sounds experienced a significant surge in listenership, with more than 2 billion plays of radio, music, and podcasts from January to November. Podcasts, in particular, saw a 34% increase in listeners compared to the previous year. This year, for the first time, the annual figures for BBC Sounds also included data from smart speakers, reflecting the platform’s expanding reach and influence in the audio content landscape.

The top ten most popular podcasts on BBC Sounds for 2023 was led by Newscast, followed by Just One Thing with Michael Mosley, You’re Dead to Me, Uncanny, Limelight, Gangster: The Story Of John Palmer, Sliced Bread, I’m Not a Monster – The Shamima Begum Story, Lady Killers with Lucy Worsley, and Americast.

BBC Sounds also showcased the top five titles by genre, including Newscast and Americast in News & Current Affairs, Just One Thing – with Michael Mosley in Science and Consumer, You’re Dead To Me in History, Desert Island Discs in Entertainment, The Archers in Drama, The Infinite Monkey Cage in Comedy, Gangster: The Story of John Palmer in True Crime, and Football Daily in Sport. In music, The Sleeping Forecast was the most popular mix.

BBC Sounds Director Jonathan Wall commented, “It’s been a remarkable year for our speech titles, winning a record number of awards in 2023, across all genres from news, science and investigations though to drama, comedy and factual storytelling. This is reflected in the wonderful range of podcasts and programmes, commissioned by Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live, that have dominated listening on BBC Sounds and ensured that our digital offer for audiences goes from strength to strength.”


  1. Early in the year BBC Sounds began embargoing their podcasts on other platforms for 30 days or more. For current events podcasts this naturally drew more listeners to the Sounds app, so this isn’t a surprising development.


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