Podcasting special part 1: why podcast? Some stats to convince you

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While everyone is getting very excited about video, there’s another content vehicle increasingly taking the online world by storm; I’m talking about podcasts.

Podcasts? Really? Well, yes…really. While they’ve been around for more than a decade, they’re really booming of late – the results of seeds planted over the last few years, namely the arrival of the iPhone, the standard issuing of the ‘Podcasts’ app on said phones and, without doubt, the phenomenal success of the show Serial.

One of the best things about today’s internet and all its forms of social media is the ability for all of us to find our niche, take a deep dive and really indulge ourselves in what we love. Podcasts offer us the chance to go even further and give us the content we want, when we want it. You want storytelling for your commute? Sorted. Academic learning and wisdom to make a long train journey whiz by? No problem. Topical football debate while you do the hoovering? Come on in. The latest news from the rock and metal scene in Birmingham (shameless plug alert) while you’re cooking dinner? Done.

2016 has been the year of the podcast for me so far – I’ve started my own and gotten some real value, knowledge and entertainment from a host of others. I want to spread the word about this re-emerging technology, so am dedicating all of this week to bringing you a daily post about podcasts, to hopefully encourage you to either start your own or, at the very least, start listening.

Coming up will be some tips for how you might want to approach podcasting, a couple of case studies looking at two of my favourite casts and some reflections of what running my own show since January has taught me. First though, I want to throw some stats at you, just so you can see what we’re dealing with here.

According to RawVoice in 2015, which tracks 20,000 different shows, the amount of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled to 75 million, up from 25 million in 2010. 

Weekly audiences are also on the rise; according to Edison Researching 2014, weekly podcast consumption has grown 25% year-on-year 

The first series of Serial has had more than 80 million downloads.

In November 2014, podcasting network Radiotopia raised $620,412 (£412,000) on Kickstarter to fund a new slate of shows.

A study by sociologist and podcaster Josh Morgan found that most podcasts do not last more than six months. 

He also found that, in the US iTunes store, the most popular categories of podcast in terms of numbers of shows were Christianity, Music and Comedy.

In 2013, Apple revealed that the amount of podcast subscriptions through iTunes had hit 1 billion.

Buzzfeed, Vogue and Esquire all created their own podcasts in 2015.

Overall, Americans listen to around 21.1 million hours of podcasts every day. We’re catching up in the UK too – we download and stream 10 million casts per week.

According to this article the podcast advertising market in the US is estimated at $100 million.

One third of Americans aged 12 or older have listened to at least one podcast and the percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the past month has almost doubled between January 2008 and January 2015, from 9% to 17%. 

According to Forbes’ Dorie Clark, the future of podcasting has a lot to do with your car…by 2025 all new cars sold will be connected to the Internet. “When that happens and there are podcasts in everybody’s car, it’s not podcasts anymore,” says Harbinger. “It’s just the radio.” 

Have these stats got you thinking more seriously about podcasting? Check back tomorrow for a few tips to help you plough ahead and start your own!

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