Back to school may be helping give podcast download numbers a boost. That will become clearer in the coming weeks, but whatever the reason, podcast downloads jumped nine percent last week (Sept. 14-20). That is according to Podtrac’s weekly update of the publishers and shows that it measures. There was also a 52% spike in downloads compared to a year ago.
The Sports and News categories showed the largest week-over-week download growth at 14% each. They weren’t alone in the growth column. Both the Business and Comedy categories saw a nine percent week-to-week increase in downloads. Genres also gaining included Science (+6%), History (+5%), and Education (+3%).
The True Crime category showed the largest drop in week-over-week downloads, sliding four percent among those publishers and shows that Podtrac measures. That dip won’t worry most producers, however, since a year-to-year comparison says True Crime downloads were up 54% last week versus the same period a year ago.
Similar comparisons among the top categories show News genre podcast downloads are more than twice what they were last September, increasing 109%, with double-digit gains for other categories including Sports (+56%), Business (+51%), Comedy (+41%), Society & Culture (+20%), Education (+15%), History (+15%) and Science (+11%).
Podtrac earlier reported that NPR was the largest podcast publisher during the month of August, reclaiming the top spot from iHeartMedia. Roughly 700,000 podcast listeners separated the two companies, which have spent 2020 trading first and second place. Podtrac said 17 of the 20 saw an increase in their U.S. monthly audience from July to August. And 11 of the top 20 podcast publishers had increases in global download numbers.