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December Continues To Show Big Gains In Downloads.

The pre-holiday season continues to point toward year over year gains in podcast listening. Podtrac says among the publishers it measures downloads last week jumped 34% compared to a year ago and were flat with the prior week when downloads were up 27% versus the prior year. Podtrac has reported gains in downloads through December suggesting that even if the holiday weeks bring lower listening levels, the drop-off may not be as large as in Christmases past. One unknown is whether the resurging pandemic will keep people away from social activities and instead sticking to their podcast habits.

The Comedy genre had last week’s best numbers. Podtrac says it had a 17% increase in week-to-week downloads and it was up 72% from a year ago. Other week-to-week winners include the Society & Culture and Sports genres, both of which were up one percent. Among those categories that took a hit were True Crime (-12%), Business (-5%), Religion & Spirituality (-3%), News (-2%), and Arts (-1%). History was flat versus the prior week. Each was up from a year ago however -- with every genre except Arts up by double digits according to Podtrac.

Podtrac earlier reported that for the month of November iHeartRadio was the top publisher with nearly 337 million downloads and streams last month, a five percent increase compared to a month earlier and a U.S. monthly unique audience of 32.6 million -- an increase of about 1.5 million. It was followed by NPR, Wondery, the New York Times and The Walt Disney Company as the top five publishers were the same in November as October.

Overall, Podtrac says global downloads for the top 20 were flat during November compared to a month earlier. And it was on par with download numbers of a year ago.

Podtrac also reports seven of the top 20 publishers posted an increase in their unique monthly U.S. audience in November compared to October – the rest were either down or flat. It reports the average publisher had a one percent month-over-month increase in their U.S. unique monthly audience last month despite the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. They were flat versus a year earlier.

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