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Podtrac Says iHeart Again Topped U.S., Global Rankings Again In May.


Podtrac says iHeartMedia remained at the head of its rankings for both for individual publishers and for sales networks both in the U.S. and worldwide in May among the publishers it measures. At the same time, Podtrac’s monthly update continues to evolve, with the U.S. ranking including a mix of not only individual publishers, but also advertising networks. This month, Wondery’s listing as an individual publisher has been replaced by its sales network listing that includes 653 shows.


Podtrac, a key public ranker of shows and networks in podcasting, updated its monthly listing in March to include not just podcast publishers but podcast sales networks as well. The distinction can be meaningful: A sales network generally has the right to monetize third-party podcasts on a non-exclusive basis, while a publisher has a hand in the actual production and often ownership of a show and can therefore distribute and monetize it exclusively. Due to this, one show’s downloads may in fact be counted by several sales networks.


For all the change to the U.S. ranker, the trio of companies that have been the top two U.S. publishers in Podtrac’s ranking remains the same. In terms of publishers, iHeartPodcasts is the biggest. It had 177.2 million streams and downloads in the U.S. during May, with a unique audience in the U.S. of 31.2 million. NPR ranked second, with 116.7 million downloads and a unique audience of 18.9 million. Wondery — which had ranked third — now hands the title of to the New York Times, which had 46.7 million streams and downloads last month, and a unique audience of 18.9 million.


Among the U.S. podcast advertising networks, the iHeart Audience Network, which includes the 910 iHeart produced and distributed shows as well as more than 24,000 others, remained the biggest. Podtrac says its total downloads and streams approached 374 million with a unique U.S. audience of 69.1 million. 


Libsyn had the second biggest U.S. ad network, with 902 shows that added to more than 100 million downloads and a unique U.S. audience of 23.5 million. It was followed by the Wondery Sales Network, which had 91.1 million downloads and an audience reach of nearly 22 million. Acast ranked fourth, with 81.7 million downloads and a unique U.S. audience of 21 million.


Podtrac’s ranking of global publishers and ad networks shows two of the global networks posted growth. But overall, it was video that had faster growth than audio last month. It says among the global networks it measures, YouTube views were up 11% between April and May, while audio RSS downloads and streams declined three percent month-to-month.


The iHeart Audience Network made its debut in the global ranking in April, and in May iHeart held onto first place. Podtrac says it had more than 653 million streams, downloads and video views around the world last month. That includes nearly 49 million YouTube views for the 30 podcasts in the iHeart network that also make their show available on the streaming viewing service.


Acast, which had been in second place this month, disappeared from the global ranker in May. Second place now goes to Libsyn, which had 159 million global streams and views last month, an increase of about five million from April.


Paramount is second however in terms of YouTube views behind iHeart, according to Podtrac. With 31 shows available on the video app, it had more than 39 million YouTube views during April.


Overall, Podtrac says three of the U.S. publishers – ReVolver, CNN and Fox – had increases in their unique monthly U.S. audience in May versus the prior month. And nine publishers had either growth or were flat in their total number of downloads month-to-month.

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