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BBC Says It Had 288 Million Podcast Downloads Worldwide During First Quarter.

The BBC has been looking to grow its U.S. podcast listener base and it seems to be showing some early returns. The British public broadcaster reports the series The Coming Storm, which is a journey into QAnon and the dark undergrowth of modern America, was the most popular podcast on its BBC Sounds app during the first quarter of the year. The BBC says it also had a total of 288 million global podcast downloads across the world during first quarter, with the BBC World Service’s Global News Podcast its most listened-to.

Overall, there have been record numbers of people using the BBC Sounds app. The latest data shows there were a record 405 million plays of all audio on BBC Sounds from January through March, and a record total of 179 million plays for on-demand radio and podcasts during first quarter.

The war in Ukraine helped make the BBC’s Newscast the second most listened-to podcast, and Ukrainecast, which launched when Russia invaded Ukraine, was the third most listened to podcast on BBC Sounds during the first quarter. Other new podcasts that appear in the top ten include: Putin, the series which tells the extraordinary and revealing story of Vladimir Putin's life; Death by Consipracy, an investigation into how one man was drawn into online conspiracy theories; and Fairy Meadow which investigates the case of Cheryl Grimmer who disappeared from an Australian beach in 1970.

Podcasts still trail to live-streaming radio for BBC Sounds. During first quarter, it says 55% of overall plays on BBC Sounds were for live content and 66% of all listening hours were live.

“We’ve seen continued growth at the outset of this year,” said Jonathan Wall, Director of BBC Sounds in the announcement. “Record numbers of people are using BBC Sounds each week for brilliant live and on-demand radio, music and podcasts, and BBC titles that shine a light on the biggest news stories and events in the U.K. and around the world have been particularly popular this quarter.”

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