There were more than just the seasonal changes in the air last month. There were also some shifts that impacted podcast download numbers in addition to the Thanksgiving holiday and the traditional dip it brings to listening. Podtrac says a new version of Apple Podcasts released in November also had an impact on its monthly unique audience figures.
One thing that remained the same is who was on top. Podtrac says iHeartPodcasts was once again the biggest publisher as its unique monthly audience rose seven percent to more than 36 million with downloads that surpassed 400 million during November.
Second place Wondery had an even larger 16% month-to-month increase in its monthly audience numbers as its downloads climbed to more than 172 million. It was followed by NPR, which had a 16% increase its unique audience, giving it more downloads last month than Wondery at 175 million.
The ranking of the biggest publishers is slow to change, but NBC News has been steadily building its podcast audience powered by its Dateline NBC series. But with the debut of Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra – which Podtrac says was the top new show in November – NBC News overtook the New York Times as the fourth-biggest publisher. Podtrac says NBC News had a 20% increase in its unique audience reach last month with downloads surpassing 68 million.
Even though it slid back to fifth place, the New York Times had growth too – its reach increased ten percent with downloads that topped 131 million.
Podtrac also reports that The Daily Wire moved up one spot to No. 6 as the Walt Disney Company – whose podcasts includes those from ABC News and ESPN – slid to No. 7. Public media’s PRX also advanced two, to No. 8.
CNN also scored its first finish in the top ten at No. 9 as its unique audience soared 47% month-to-month. Paramount also moved into the top ten at tenth place with a 23% increase in its monthly uniques and 46 million downloads.
The entry of CNN and Paramount pushed Barstool Sports out of the top ten. It fell to No. 11, the worst showing for the publisher in recent memory. And PodcastOne fell from No. 9 in October to No. 14 in November.
Podtrac’s monthly ranking of ad sales networks shows the Wondery Sales Network again topped the list with a total reach of more than 29 million listeners in the U.S. during November. That includes podcasts they represent on their Art19 platform. Wondery was followed by Acast, which had more than 27 million unique U.S. listeners. Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast held onto third place with more than 11 million listeners, followed by PodcastOne Sales Network with more than 8 million.
Overall, Podtrac reports the average top 20 publisher had a 15% percent month-over-month increase in their U.S. unique monthly audience during November. And compared to a year earlier, last month’s unique reach for the top 20 publishers was up 33% versus November 2022. But it says that was in part due to a new version of the Apple Podcasts app that was released last month.
In terms of downloads, Podtrac says global downloads for the top 20 publishers overall declined six percent month-to-month during November, in part due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Yet they were up 23% compared to the download numbers from a year earlier.