Analysis Shows True Crime Punched Above Its Weight In Year-End ‘Best Of’ Lists.


The team at Pacific Content has taken a big picture view of all the year-end “top podcast” lists that flooded inboxes and social media feeds during the past month. And the number crunching by Pacific Content’s Podcast Measurement Analyst Matt Hird finds list-makers had a definite tilt toward True Crime with nearly one in five (17%) of shows mentioned hailing from that category. In fact, Hird writes in a blog post that of the 23 top podcast lists he analyzed, every one included a True Crime show.


“True Crime punches way above its weight. For all the talk about them, True Crime podcasts make up a pretty small slice of overall podcasts,” says Hird. “There are around 8,750 podcasts in Apple Podcasts with True Crime as their primary genre, which sounds like a massive amount of podcasts until you consider that those represent less than half a percent of the Apple Podcasts ecosystem. We aren’t focusing exclusively on Apple Podcasts here, but if the ratio holds true across all platforms, True Crime podcasts are over-represented on the top-podcasts lists by a factor of more than 34 times.”


The catch-all category of Society & Culture made up the most shows mentioned, accounting for a third of 2021’s best shows according to list-makers. Comedy and News tied for third, each with seven percent.


Hird’s analysis also revealed that there was an advantage to not being an exclusive. “For all the talk about platform-exclusive podcasts, very few podcasts that made the top podcast lists were only available on a single platform,” he writes. Hird says his count shows there were nine exclusive podcasts (3.2%) mentioned across the various lists, with only two being mentioned more than once. Interestingly, none of Spotify’s big-ticket exclusives including The Joe Rogan Experience, Armchair Expert, or Call Her Daddy turned up on a list.


One reason could be list writers were trying really hard to expose readers to new shows. Of the 432 podcasts mentioned by writers across the 23 curated lists, Hird says there were 274 different podcasts that made the cut. “Amazingly, 198 of those podcasts (72%) were only mentioned once,” he says. “The fact that more than 7-in-10 ‘top podcasts’ did not make the cut for any of the other 22 lists shows how much room to breathe there is in this space.”


Read Hird’s full analysis HERE.

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