Podspec: Which show has the most episodes in Apple’s top 200 Episodes in Comedy? (Hint: Is it smart?)

There are many ways to measure a hit podcast. Audience reach. Downloads. Number of reviews. Star rating.

Another is to observe how persistent the back catalog is in charts. We looked at Apple’s top-200 chart in the U.S., in the Comedy category — comedy being a consistently strong genre performer. That chart comes in two flavors: Podcasts (meaning show brands), and Episodes. We examined the latter, with a goal of discovering which shows hold the most chart placements. We figured that in the context of a fast-moving chart, multiple episode placements indicate a vibrant catalog.

Thirteen shows placed four or more episodes in the chart as of January 5. The winner of this exercise, by a wide margin, is Smartless, which placed an eye-popping 20 episodes in the top 200, for a 10% control of the chart. Smartless is a witty celeb-interview show hosted by actors and best friends Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett.

The top three:

  • Smartless (20 episodes)
  • Office Ladies (13 episodes)
  • Morbid: A True Crime Podcast (10 episodes)

Just as remarkable to the success of Smartless, this fairly new show (launched mid-2020) has only 25 episodes posted as of this experiment. So: Not only 10% of the Apple Comedy chart, but 80% of the brand’s total catalog.

Side note: The show description of Smartless is weirdly off-base: “SmartLess with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, & Will Arnett is a podcast that connects and unites people from all walks of life to learn about shared experiences through thoughtful dialogue and organic hilarity.” The organic hilarity is spot-on, but the rest sounds like those three guys are talking with shop owners and dog trainers. In fact, the show is a glittering A-list stopover where most of Hollywood and a lot of politicians are probably trying to get booked.

Smartless is an independent show represented by PMM (formerly Public Media Marketing) which produced an advertiser-facing video promotion of the show at last year’s IAB Podcast Upfront.

Brad Hill

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