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Signs Point To A Strong Holiday Season For Podcasts.

It was the most normal Thanksgiving week in three years and the short workweek and dedicated family time brought about the expected week-to-week dip in downloads last week, Podtrac says. Downloads declined 15% among the publishers it measures. But as podcasting continues to grow, Podtrac says downloads grew a robust 44% last week compared to a year ago.

The annual Thanksgiving dip in podcast listening has become as much a tradition as turkey and football. But even as Americans traveled more and the pandemic’s impacts continue to fade, the holiday impact was actually smaller than during the past two years when COVID kept a lot of people closer to home. Podtrac reported a 17% week-to-week drop during the Thanksgiving holiday weeks in both 2021 and 2020. Even more telling is how downloads performed on a year-to-year comparison. This year’s 44% increase was more than four-times the 10% growth rate compared to the corresponding period in 2020.

Week-to-week podcast downloads slid across most genres, but not all. Podtrac says downloads actually jumped seven percent last week for shows in the Arts genre. The rest of the big categories were down, however, with Comedy and News both down 19% week-to-week.

Yet the story is one of growth that gives podcasters reason to be thankful when compared to download figures from a year ago. Podtrac says True Crime downloads last week were more than double (+102%) what they were a year ago. And the Health & Fitness genre, which has been one of the strongest show categories of 2022, continues to flex its muscle. Its downloads were also doubled (+99%) last week compared to a year earlier.

Podtrac says there was solid double-digit growth across all the big genres, with gains also logged in categories including Comedy (+68%), History (+63%), Arts (+37%), Business (+35%), News (+35%), Society & Culture (+28%), Science (+27%), and Sports (+18%).

The Thanksgiving week download numbers can help forecast what will happen during the Christmas holiday. Last year, Christmas week downloads were down 13% week-to-week, which was similar to a 12% dip in 2020. In both cases year-to-year download numbers grew by a third compared to the prior year.

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