Audience shows big gains (Podtrac) and RAIN Remix of February Top Publishers ranker

In Podtrac’s Top Podcast Publishers monthly ranker for February we learn that the metrics for audience growth were on a vigorous upswing, while downloads dipped slightly from January:

  • US Unique Monthly Audience increased for 16 of the Top 20 publishers in February 2022 over January 2022.
  • The average US Unique Monthly Audience for the Top 20 publishers was up 6% month-over-month and up 18% over February 2021.
  • Total Global Downloads for the Top 20 were up down 2% month-over-month and up 32% year-over-year.

Podtrac measures all its clients for this monthly ranker. The February list shows iHeartRadio and NPR continuing their seemingly inevitable #1 and #2 positioning:

RAIN Remix

The RAIN Remix of this report rearranges the listing by ranking the key metrics (audience size, and number of downloads) per active show on average for each publisher. This creates a different view from the original, which ranks networks by their entire portfolios, big or small. The remix conveys an understanding of portfolio strategy.

The two measurements Podtrac uses for this monthly ranker are U.S. Unique Monthly Audience and Global Downloads & Streams. We remix the ranking twice, one remix for each metric.

The first RAIN Remix below shows the top 20 list sorted by average monthly audience per show for each publisher. (NOTE: The BBC has been removed from Remix, as that network declined to reveal its Audience and Download numbers.)

The original ranking numbers (on the left) identify each publisher to see quickly the extent to which the list is shuffled into a new order. The difference is dramatic: iHeartRadio moves from #1 to #16, and This American Life moves from #19 to #1.

In our view there is no good or bad in the remix. Different publishers have different business strategies in this regard, and they can range from piling their resources into many shows or few shows. Either way, they have landed on an elite list.

The second RAIN Remix re-sorts the original by average streams/downloads (e.g. plays) per show. The result is a light shuffle of the first remix. New York Times wins the #1 spot in this Remix, with over 11-million average streams/downloads per show across its nine-show network. (This American Life can brag about an even greater concentration of listening, with over 11-million sreams/downloads packed into a single show.)


Brad Hill