The new year started off strong for publishers as post-holiday listening roared back with the downloads among top 20 publishers measured by Podtrac seeing a 17% year-to-year increase in streams and downloads last month. Powered by an eight percent increase in downloads, iHeartRadio remained at the top with more than 422 million downloads in January. It was the first time iHeart crossed the 400 million download mark and it came despite having four fewer shows in its network compared to the prior month. Podtrac says iHeart’s U.S. monthly unique audience was more than 30 million. It marked 16 consecutive months that it has led the ranking of publishers measured by Podtrac.
Second place NPR saw a five percent increase in its downloads last month, totaling more than 173 million. Third place finisher Wondery was up six percent in terms of downloads, a reversal of a similarly-sized dip it recorded during December. The New York Times had an eight percent jump in its downloads while its monthly audience jumped 13% to top 10 million. NBC News once again rounded out the top five, despite a four percent dip in its downloads last month.
The biggest mover in the top ten was Barstool Sports, as it was helped by the NFL playoffs. It saw its downloads soar 21% month-to-month while its unique U.S. audience rose by 20%. That pushed it up to No. 7 compared to ninth place in December.
The Daily Wire also jumped two spots month-to-move, rising to No. 8 in January. Podtrac says Daily Wire’s downloads rose 13% while its unique audience grew eight percent compared to December.
The Cumulus Podcast Network slid back to No. 10 last month despite a six percent jump in downloads. Its unique reach declined five percent versus the prior month.
PodcastOne had its best show to date since joining the Podtrac rankings. It rose to No. 11 in January with a 22% increase in its downloads month-to-month and a unique reach that rose seven percent to 5.5 million listeners.
American Public Media returned to the top 20 during January while TED was knocked out a month earlier. Podcast No. 19 This American Life continues to hold on as the only free-standing show to make the monthly ranker. Podtrac says the show had 12 million downloads during January and a unique U.S. reach of more than 3.4 million.
Overall, Podtrac reports the average publisher had a two percent month-over-month increase in their U.S. unique monthly audience last month. And compared to a year earlier, January 2022’s unique reach for the top 20 publishers was up one percent versus January 2021.
Podtrac also reports 13 of the top 20 publishers posted an increase in their unique monthly U.S. audience in January compared to December – the rest were either down or flat.
In terms of downloads, Podtrac says global downloads for the top 20 publishers overall were up five percent month-over-month during January. They were also up 17% with the download numbers from a year earlier.