September’s final full week brought yet another week of good news for the podcast industry — downloads were up 4% last week (Sept. 21-27), according to Podtrac. Based on the publishers and shows it tracks, Podtrac’s weekly update says downloads were also up 49% compared to a year ago. The increase builds on gains made a week earlier.
It was a bounce-back week for the True Crime genre. Two weeks ago the category had the biggest download dip among all the big genres. Last week True Crime showed the largest week-over-week download growth. It was up nine percent.
Gains were also recorded in the Science and Society & Culture genres, with downloads up 7% in both categories, as well as for shows in categories including Arts (+6%), News (+4%), Comedy (+3%), History (+3%) and Business (+1%). And while sports is back in a big way, it’s possible listeners are too busy watching games to listen to podcasts — the Sports category showed a two percent dip in downloads last week compared to a week earlier.
Among the top podcast genres, Podtrac says it was News that had the biggest growth compared to a year ago — downloads grew 88% year-over-year. Most other categories also had double-digit gains such as Sports, with downloads up 53% versus a year earlier; True Crime and Business, both of which were up 41% from last year; and Comedy, which was up 38%.
Podtrac earlier reported that NPR was the largest podcast publisher during the month of August, reclaiming the top spot from iHeartMedia. Roughly 700,000 podcast listeners separated the two companies, which have spent 2020 trading first and second place. Podtrac said 17 of the 20 saw an increase in their U.S. monthly audience from July to August. And 11 of the top 20 podcast publishers had increases in global download numbers.