While the coronavirus has affected our personal lives and shifted our work and industries, it has also changed consumer consumption habits, especially in the podcast universe. This virus and the corresponding “stay at home” dictate has upset our daily routines and habits, and every “normal” pattern we can imagine - from commutes, childcare, schooling and bedtime, to how we eat, exercise and connect with colleagues and communities. Those changes have also impacted the ways in which we are entertained, how we engage with media and even the type of content we stream. During so much change, the podcast industry sits in a unique position to weather this storm. Thanks to data from several of our partners including networks, show hosts, podcast ad sales networks and even adtech providers over the past two weeks, here are reasons why we’re hopeful podcasting as a medium will weather the storm.
- Consumers still crave hard news updates: According to the data, news and news related podcast content, including political talk, rose during the first week of the coronavirus outbreak, which was to be expected as consumers navigate and try to understand their world in a time of severe change.
- Podcast relationships stay strong: With the cancellation of major sporting events, the data shows sports programming downloads have also declined the first couple weeks. However, as our “new normal” sets in, we’re seeing dedicated fans continue to tune in to their favorite podcast shows, just to stay connected to the hosts they know and love, even without sports news.
- The show goes on: While, pauses in content development in the entertainment world has halted, the power of audio is alive and well. A majority of podcast show are still sharing regularly scheduled programming. We’re seeing the community support each other more than ever and podcast hosts turning to even more creative efforts to continue producing content for fans.
- Finding joy in the little things: Many lifestyle-based podcasts have seen growth, specifically kids and family, and fitness/health content. Consumers continue to find comfort in these areas while home together and are looking to these genres to help them get through these times,
- Without traditional commutes, download times have changed: According to data from an adtech vendor, download time windows have shifted. Previously, most podcast downloads occur early in the day, around 7– 9a.m. local time. Recent data has shown downloads over a longer window with a higher concentration later in the afternoon, around 4– 6p.m. local time instead. The lack of traditional commutes has led to fewer early downloads, Specifically, and more downloads later in the day, over a longer span. This shows that consumers are proactively downloading and seeking out content throughout their days, instead of strictly during that commute time.
Larger shows are growing, while smaller shows stay the same: The larger shows seem to be growing downloads at a faster rate than ever before. For example, The Joe Rogan Podcast, generally regarded as the largest podcast, has seen double-digit U.S. download gains since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Similarly, Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert, is seeing the same double-digit growth during this time.
Given the overall disruption in the universe, the relatively unaffected consumption of podcasts is encouraging for the industry. For a newly established medium, it’s difficult to keep your audience during times of immense change, so seeing downloads remain steady week after week, listeners staying engaged, and new categories emerging is promising in this time of uncertainty. We’re confident users have developed relationships with their favorite podcast hosts and shows and have worked podcasting into their daily lives no matter the circumstances.