Podcasting has traditionally been subject to the summertime whims of media consumers who have plenty to do rather than be plopped on the couch in front of their television sets. But this year looks the most like life did prior to the pandemic, and that may be having an impact on listening. Podtrac reports the top 20 publishers among those it measures experienced a nine percent month-to-month decline in their unique audience last month. And July’s total was down three percent from a year ago. It was a second consecutive month that reach fell versus 2022. And Podtrac says among the publishers it measures only two of the top 20 saw gains between June and July.
The top spot once again went to iHeartPodcasts whose 853 active shows counted up more than 377 million downloads during July. That was on par with the previous month even though its unique reach dipped slightly.
Wondery had softer audience and download numbers but its 216 active shows still had the second biggest reach of the publishers measured by Podtrac. It says Wondery had 23.3 million unique U.S. listeners during July with just shy of 180 million downloads.
NPR followed at third with dips in both its audience and download figures as well. Podtrac says NPR had 17 million listeners last month and 158 million downloads.
The two publishers that posted gains in July were The Daily Wire. Its audience rose two percent to 8.9 million. And This American Life saw its audience jump by a third to more than three million unique listeners last month.
The drop last month in reach for the biggest publishers translated into lower audience numbers for sales networks too. Among the four measured by Podtrac, the combined audience was down seven percent in July versus a month earlier.
The Wondery Sales Network remained in the lead with a unique U.S. audience of more than 25 million and just over 203 million downloads during July. That was a five percent slide in its audience size month-to-month while downloads went in the other direction, rising one percent month-to-month.
Acast say its monthly audience shrinked six percent in July although it remained in second place. Podtrac does not release monthly figures for Acast however the company said it had about 1.3 billion downloads and streams during second quarter.
Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast ranked as the third-biggest sales network in July with just shy of 14 million listeners last month. That was a 14% drop month-to-month as downloads fell 10%.
The PodcastOne Sales Network ranked fourth with a reach of about 5.5 million listeners during July, which was flat with June. It added a dozen new shows month-to-month but its download total soared 56%.
Overall, Podtrac reports the average top 20 publisher had a nine percent month-over-month decrease in their U.S. unique monthly audience during July. Compared to a year earlier, last month’s unique reach for the top 20 publishers declined three percent compared with July 2022. Among the top 20 publishers, it reports just two had gains in their reach last month.
In terms of downloads, Podtrac says global downloads for the top 20 publishers overall was up one percent month-to-month during July, although they were down three percent from a year earlier.