Podcasting’s Growing Market Imbalance By Rob Greenlee · 2.1 minutes to read
It is exciting to hear that the new podcast show creation side of the podcasting space is growing fast during the past month or so. Apple Podcasts crossing the one million show series milestone and 91,000 new podcasts in April, as a result, is impressive to see after 16 years of modest yet steady growth of new content coming into the podcasting space.
Podcast listening is in decline as much as 15% across 67,000+ podcasts on the Libsyn hosting platform. This decline is likely creating an imbalance in the podcasting market more broadly.
All this is happening in the backdrop of social isolation and distancing as a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many millions of people around the world got caught alone and are just not able to be with other people anymore. Humans are very social and can develop bouts of depression feelings as a result of being isolated for long periods.
So many with extra time at home are jumping on the opportunity to create a new podcast, causing very rapid growth of new podcasts at many of the larger podcast hosts. In-studio productions have been scaling back and doing more remote recording sessions utilizing platforms like Skype, Source-Connect Now, Zoom, StreamYard, and Squadcast.
We also see some genres of podcasts growing audiences very quickly and others, declining sharply. COVID-19 related podcasts have grown fast as the thirst for information on the pandemic has grown. Examples are areas like travel podcasts that have dropped as travel is not something people generally feel safe doing at this time, thus less interested in content in that area.
I am very concerned that the rapid rate of new content creation and growth is getting ahead of the growth of the listenership side of the market. We could see a pullback on new content coming into the podcasting space in May and June if we don’t see listenership growth.
Some podcasters are very sensitive to obtaining reasonable listenership growth in a short period. We could see an increase of podcasts slowing or stopping new episode production.
There is some good news coming from Google with the launch of Google Podcasts Manager and an excellent listening app on Apple’s iOS devices. These recent announcements are offering the potential of significant growth in listenership to podcasts on Android and iOS as competition grows along with Spotify on the podcast listening platform side.
It would be great to see Apple Podcasts get very aggressive in this area and launch a listening app on Android as a response to Google placing a podcasts app on iOS. Android market share is in the majority of mobile devices with the lowest per capita rate of listening to podcasts to date.
Globally we will see more listening platforms come online too from some enormous countries around the world with large listening bases today.