After a big week for News genre podcasts (thanks to the election), shows in that category stepped back to normal last week. Podtrac says among the biggest categories, News had the largest week-to-week dip in downloads, falling nine percent. The move came after News podcasts enjoyed a 13% bounce two weeks ago. But perhaps listeners were looking for some context to what happened. Podtrac says among the shows and publishers it measures, the biggest increase in downloads last week came in the History genre, which was up 20% versus a week earlier.
Some other listeners may be returning to their normal listening habits. True Crime had one of the largest download increases as downloads in that category rose 17% week-to-week. Podtrac says there were also gains in categories including Business (+12%), Science (+11%), Arts (+9%), Comedy (+8%), Education (+1%), and Society & Culture (+1%). Besides News, Sports was one of the few other categories that was down last week with a one percent decline in downloads.
Across all categories, Podtrac reports downloads were flat last week among publishers it tracks. There remains a solid growth story nevertheless with downloads up 48% compared to the same week a year ago.
Podtrac earlier reported that the iHeartPodcast Network was the largest podcast publisher among those it tracks during October, as iHeart hit new record highs for downloads and unique U.S. monthly audience. Podtrac says iHeart had a monthly U.S. audience reach of more than 27.8 million listeners with downloads and streams topping 266 million, both showing growth from a month earlier.
According to Podtrac, the top seven podcast publishers remained unchanged in October among the shows and publishers it measures. NPR finished second, the New York Times remained in third place followed by ESPN/ABC, PRX, Wondery, and Barstool Sports. Warner Media rode a 15% jump in its unique monthly U.S. audience to a No. 8 finish, up two spots from September. That pushed NBC News back to No. 9 with Cumulus Media/Westwood One rounding out the top ten.
The average U.S. unique monthly audience for the top ten publishers slipped one percent from September to October. That was in part due to an industry decision to remove Apple Watch listening from downloads. The result was only three of the top ten publishers had month-to-month growth in their download numbers – iHeart, WarnerMedia and Cumulus Media/Westwood One.