Following the Labor Day holiday dip and September 2021 looking a bit more normal with most kids heading back to school, Podtrac says podcast downloads and streams jumped 10% last week among the publishers it measures. Some of that bounce may also be related to more people installing the latest iOS software in their Apple devices, fixing a glitch that has softened download numbers during the past several months.
Helping drive the gains was a big leap in True Crime genre downloads. Podtrac says it detected a 25% week-to-week increase in downloads and streams among its sample of publishers. And True Crime downloads were up 57% versus the same week a year ago. No other genre was up that much, but there were other double-digit increases. Science podcasts were up 19% week-to-week, Sports was up 14%, and Comedy increased 13% with gains also recorded in genres including News (+9%), Education (+6%), History (+5%), Society & Culture (+4%), Business (+3%). The Arts category’s downloads held steady week-to-week. None of the big genres were down.
Podtrac earlier reported that iHeartRadio was the top-ranked publisher in August among those it measures as its reach grew 7% and streams and downloads were up 10% -- despite the fact that a bug in Apple Podcasts has continued to depress download numbers. Apple has since pushed out a fix but the impact remains as iOS device owners slowly download the iOS 14.7 update.
But iHeart was not alone in seeing gains. Podtrac says all of the top 20 publishers were up in August compared to July. NPR held onto second place, followed by Wondery, the New York Times, and the Walt Disney Company.
Overall, Podtrac says the average publisher’s unique monthly audience was up 15% in August compared to a 2% decline a month earlier.