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Podtrac: Downloads Up Average Of Six Percent In February As iHeart Remained The Top Publisher.

Powered by a ten percent jump in its unique U.S. reach and a two percent increase in its streams and downloads, iHeartRadio remained at the top of Podtrac’s ranking of top podcast publishers for February. Podtrac says iHeart had a record 430 million streams last month with a reach of 33.4 million. It was the second consecutive month that iHeart had more than 400 million downloads and it was the 17th consecutive month that it led the ranking of publishers measured by Podtrac.

Second place NPR saw an eight percent decline in its downloads last month, totaling just under 160 million. Third place finisher Wondery was up four percent with downloads of nearly 77 million. The New York Times had a five percent jump in downloads as it held fourth place. The Walt Disney Co. – which includes podcasts from ESPN and ABC Audio – moved into the top five with a 17% download increase, knocking NBC News back to sixth place as its downloads number shrank 5% month-to-month in February.

The Daily Wire moved up one spot to No. 7 and PodcastOne jumped from No. 11 in January to No. 8 in February – its best showing to date – thanks to a 21% increase in downloads last month. Post Super Bowl, Barstool Sports slid back to No. 9, a two-spot drop from January. And PRX moved back one spot to No. 10.

The biggest mover among the top 20 was the Cumulus Podcast Network which dropped from tenth place in January to No. 18 in February. Podtrac says its total downloads were 28 million, down 45% from a month earlier despite increasing its show count from 122 to 168.

There was also a newcomer to Podtrac’s top 20 as the BBC debuted at No. 20. It had just over three million unique listeners in the U.S. But the BBC blocked Podtrac from releasing how many downloads it had worldwide, a metric it makes public for all of the other publishers it measures. The introduction of the BBC knocked American Public Media out of the top 20.

Overall, Podtrac reports the average publisher had a six percent month-over-month increase in their U.S. unique monthly audience in February. And compared to a year earlier, February 2022’s unique reach for the top 20 publishers was up 18% versus February 2021.

Podtrac also reports 16 of the top 20 publishers posted an increase in their unique monthly U.S. audience in February compared to January – the rest were either down or flat.

In terms of downloads, Podtrac says global downloads for the top 20 publishers overall were down two percent month-over-month during February. But they were up 32% compared to the download numbers from a year earlier.

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