Ossa Podcast Industry News | July 6, 2020 | Podcasting in the Pandemic

Global podcast technology company Voxnest has released their mid-year global State of the Podcast Universe report, and one of their major findings is that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the coronavirus quarantine has had a major impact on the types of devices people are using to access podcasts.

Voxnest reports that based on the devices consumers are using, it’s very evident that people are doing more of their podcast listening at home, possibly even as a family.

The study found that during the first half of 2020, podcast listenership increased on a wide range of at-home devices. Desktop listening increased 58%, internet-connected TV listening grew 28%, and smart speaker listening saw an 11% bump. However, smartphones are still the number-one way that people access podcasts, and smartphone listening has increased as well — by a notable 33%.

Increased podcast consumption is not the only way that coronavirus has impacted the podcast universe, however. It has also given more people the free time to launch a show. Voxnest discovered a “surge of creativity” from people looking to take their minds off COVID-19.

Spreaker, the Voxnest-owned podcast hosting platform, saw a 75 percent increase in new sign-ups for their most popular plans in February and March of 2020. Interestingly, the study found that in locations where the pandemic was at its worst, the “podcast creation effect” was even bigger. For example, in Italy, a country with one of the highest per capita COVID-19-related death rates in the world to date, podcast hosting platform Spreaker saw their signups nearly double. This data is yet another indication that in challenging and isolated times, people around the world turned to podcasting.

Another interesting trend: Podcasts in the Education genre saw the biggest jump during the first five months of the year on Spreaker. This is likely related to the massive spike in homeschooling for kids around the globe. It’s not surprising that many ill-prepared, over-extended parents would be thrilled to turn to podcasts for free educational resources easily accessed at home. Basically, educational podcasts provided parents with a much-needed way to outsource some of their unexpected teaching duties.

The other top-growth podcast categories worldwide included Arts, Society & Culture, Music, News, and Health & Fitness. Not surprisingly, there was also a “massive rise” in COVID-19 related content.

Now, let’s talk about the neck-and-neck battle for podcast world domination between Apple and Spotify. The Voxnest State of the Podcast Universe report only looked at Voxnest-hosted podcasts, of which Apple had a 59% share worldwide during the first five months of 2020, compared to 41% for Spotify. While Apple remains in the lead by a comfortable margin, the gap between the two companies has been growing slimmer over the past year. Spotify has launched many effective strategies to take on their competition, like making exclusive podcast deals with major podcasting celebrities and implementing user-friendly features that Apple doesn’t offer.

In recent months Spotify overtook Apple in countries like Bangladesh and Azerbaijan, while Apple reclaimed the lead in countries including Vietnam and Qatar. Voxnest reports that they expect this battle for the top podcast platform to continue as Spotify continues to double down on their podcasting efforts.

You can get a copy of Voxnest’s full mid-year State of the Podcast Universe report using the link on our website. Click the link in our bio to get your copy.


Now I’m going to cover another just-released study with some very interesting results: the Latino Podcast Listener Report by Edison Research. The study surveyed Latinos in the U.S. ages 18 and over and found that 25% had listened to a podcast in the last month, whereas 45% of respondents reported ever having listened to a podcast. Similar to Voxnest’s State of the Podcast Universe report that we just discussed, the Edison Research study also found increases in podcast listening since the outbreak of COVID-19 for over half of U.S. Latinos ages 18 and over.

Edison Research’s Manager of Research Gabriel Soto and Adonde Media Founder and CEO Martina Castro detailed the study’s findings during a webinar on June 30th, covering U.S. Latino podcast awareness, listening habits, similarities and differences of those born in the States and those born elsewhere, and the opportunity that exists for this growing population.

The study found that 61% of U.S. Latinos ages 18 and over had heard of podcasting, compared to 75% of the total U.S. population. Among U.S. Latinos, 46% of those who self-identified as Spanish-language dominant had heard of the term “podcasting”, whereas 68% of those who identified as non-Spanish-language dominant were familiar with the term.

Adonde Media Founder and CEO Martina Castro found the 22 percent gap in podcasting awareness between non-Spanish Latinos and the Spanish dominant group to be an “interesting finding”.

The Voxnest report offered some related results on the rise of Spanish-speaking podcasts, which, until recently, have been underrepresented in the podcasting space. Voxnest found that during the first five months of 2020, the number of monthly active Spanish-language podcasts grew by 94%.

According to Voxnest, that continues a trend that began in 2018: established podcasters began to enter the Spanish-speaking world, and a surge in interest from brands and advertisers followed.

We are seeing a similar trend for Portuguese-language podcasts, which increased by 103 percent from January to May of this year on the Voxnest network. Spreaker responded to this growth by launching a version of its hosting platform in Portuguese. They are now actively engaged in the podcasting communities of Brazil and Portugal.

Voxnest says among its users, the ten fastest-growing countries for new podcast creation in the first half of 2020 were Brazil, Great Britain, Canada, Colombia, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Poland, New Zealand and the U.S.

Since English is a secondary language for over half of these top-growth countries, it’s no wonder that we’re seeing a spike in Spanish and Portuguese language podcasts.

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