The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2021 has just been released today, looking at digital news consumption across the globe and specifically this year, how COVID-19 has affected this.

The report is one of the most comprehensive of its kind, surveying 92,000 online news users from across 46 markets.

We use this report religiously to keep up to date with podcasting trends and statistics and regularly refer to it in our podcast workshops.

One of the questions we’ve been asked over the last year was that, as many podcasts were listened to on the commute to and from work, would it be fair to assume the number of people listening to podcasts had decreased during the pandemic as people were forced to work from home.  However, other research we refer to in our workshops proved this not to be the case, with listening actually increasing in many cases.  The Digital News Report also confirms listening hasn’t dropped at all, stating that 31% of people listened to a podcast in the past month.

In some regions, that listening figure is much higher, with Ireland topping the chart at 41%, followed by Spain (38%), and then Sweden, Norway, and USA (all 37%).

Here in the UK, the report states that only 22% of people have listened to a podcast in the last month. However, it goes on to comment that the lower number reported in the UK could be due to the fact that many people are listening through public service radio apps, such as BBC Sounds, and therefore perceive this as on demand radio as opposed to podcasts.

On top of this, due to the pandemic, there has been a growth in video podcasting due to recording podcasts online through tools such as Zoom. In fact, we’ve experienced this with our own csuite podcast and many of the podcasts we record for our clients, including Octopus Energy, SAP and Compass Pathways plc.   Having the video version of the podcast widens the range of options for distribution, such as uploading the content to YouTube, and further confuses the definitions of podcasts for researchers and survey respondents.  In fact, YouTube (26%) has overtaken Apple (22%) as the most popular platform to consume podcasts in the US according to the report. 

Finally, whilst we recommend promoting your podcasts through social media, PR, promotion and paid social, the report states that the majority of people still discover new podcasts through recommendations from friends and family.

Full details of our podcast workshop can be found here.

Image by Michal Dziekonski from Pixabay