Podtrac: Podcast consumption down 10% in September, and RAIN Remix

In the Top Podcast Publishers ranking in September from Podtrac, (HERE) we learn two important data points:

    • The average US Unique Monthly Audience for the Top 20 publishers was down 10% month-over-month and down 10% over September 2022.
    • Total Global Downloads for the Top 20 publishers were down 10% month-over-month and down 5% year-over-year.

Further, the combined audience for the Top Sales Networks was down 5% month-over-month.

In September, leading podcast networks iHeartPodcasts, Wondery, and NPR take the top three spots based on the ranker’s native sorting by unique monthly audience, and the 1-2-3 rank holds for downloads also.

Here is the original Podtrac ranking list:

RAIN Remix

But things get shaken up in the RAIN Remix, which re-sorts the Podtrac data to show audience and downloads per active show. The remix gives an interesting view of Podtrac’s measurements while factoring in the number of podcasts each publisher represents.

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 first RAIN Remix below shows the top 20 list sorted by average monthly audience per show for each publisher.


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 #17, and This American Life moves from #17 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 below re-sorts the original by average streams/downloads (e.g. plays) per show. The result is a light shuffle of the first remix. This American Life retains the #1 spot in this Remix, with over 9-million average streams/downloads per show — it is a one-show network. iHeartPodcasts, number one in raw audience and streams, takes the #13 spot with an average 430,000 downloads in its sprawling 902-podcast network. (iHeart added 49 new podcast titles since the August report.)

Brad Hill