It is not just more listeners to existing shows that kept iHeartRadio at the top of Podtrac’s monthly ranker of the biggest podcast publishers in August. It was also more shows from which to choose. Podtrac says iHeart had a podcasting reach of 32.4 million last month with more than 252 million streams and downloads to a network of 590 active shows. That was up from 587 a month earlier. Both of iHeart’s numbers grew in August – reach was up 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.
Other podcast publishers tracked by Podtrac also saw gains in August. No. 2 NPR saw its reach jump 19% last month while downloads increased 7%. Amazon-owned Wondery moved up to third place as its reach soared 49% and downloads jumped 38%. That put it ahead of the New York Times, which had an 18% gain in its monthly audience and a 15% bump in downloads. The Walt Disney Co. – which includes the podcasts of both ABC and ESPN, among others – jumped from No. 7 in July to No. 5 in August as its audience rose 23% month-to-month and its downloads grew 17%.
The move of Disney into the top five pushed PRX back to seventh-place in August. NBC held onto No. 6, with similar finishes for Barstool Sports (No. 8) and Cumulus/Westwood One (No. 9). The list was capped by All Things Comedy, which returned to the top ten as Warner Media slid back to No. 12.
Overall, Podtrac says all top 20 publishers had growth in their unique monthly U.S. audience in August compared to July. It says the average publisher was up 15% last month compared to a 2% decline a month earlier.