Nielsen “Podcasting Today” report — a deep dive with fascinating metrics

“In 2005, the word podcast was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.” –Nielsen “Podcasting Today”


In its just-released Podcasting Today report, Nielsen takes a retrospective glance backward in a quick historical roundup of inflection points of a now mature industry. The company’s thesis is that in the years since 2005, and through recent acquisitions and consolidations, “podcasts are in fact an industry.”

And a robust one, according to SVP Bruce Supovitz: “During the pandemic, the increase of podcast listening indicates volumes about the staying power and the continued rising popularity of the medium.”

The statistical story is more nuanced, and this report breaks it out in two important visuals — type of listener, and place of listening. First, Nielsen’s study observes that so-called Light listeners drove growth through the pandemic:

Then, there is a story about listening environment, with at-home listening taking the lead during the pandemic, swelling to 50% of listening in May of this year:

There are statistical insights about the age group of avid listeners. The 25-39 cohort is the plurality with 38% of listening in May 2021:

There is much more to this info-rich and lengthy report. We will put one more graphic into this review, because we find it fascinating — the Podcast Genres Duplication Grid. It illustrates the percentage of listeners to each of 19 genres who listen to all the other genres. It’s no surprise that Science fans love Technology shows. Less obvious is that History fans also love Fiction podcasts. Music fans love Comedy. There are connections between True Crime and Kids & Family.


Brad Hill