Podtrac publishers ranking August: Audience growth across the board as iHeartRadio grabs #1

Podtrac released its Top 10 Podcast Publishers ranking this morning, noting that all 10 network producers showed audience gains from July. The governing metric in the monthly ranker is US Unique Monthly Audience, with a secondary statistic — Global Unique Streams & Downloads — also cited for each publisher, along with the number of active shows in each publisher’s network.

For the first time since this monthly report started (May, 2016), NPR is not perched in the top spot, as iHeartRadio’s audience lifted 1.7% higher than NPR’s audience in August. The two publishers had been close in audience count for many months before this, and it is reasonable to guess that they might trade the #1 and #2 positions more than once going forward.

The two podcast behemoths implement different volume strategy: iHeartRadio claims 258 active shows in this report, while NPR is measured against 61 active shows. That puts iHeart’s average audience per show at 89,624, while NPR’s average is 372,770 on average. iHeartRadio promotes its tactical blending of podcasting with broadcasting, putting its podcasts in hundreds of terrestrial radio stations. That’s not so different from NPR’s historical leveraging of shows which began in radio and were turned into time-shifted podcasts, though the two gambits go in opposite directions.

At any rate, the two networks remain far ahead of the remaining list. Podtrac notes these two growth indicators:

  • For August, all Top 10 publishers saw increases in US Unique Monthly Audience with biggest increases coming from iHeartRadio(26%) on the strength of new episodes of Ron Burgundy and other new shows and ESPN (23%) capitalizing on the football season and new content for 30 For 30.
  • Average US Unique Monthly Audience across the Top 10 publishers is up 17% in August over July and up 75% from August of 2018.

Here is the Podtrac ranker:


Brad Hill