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The Stitcher Podcasting Report

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A decade of data about the podcasting industry.

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The Stitcher Podcasting Report

  1. 1. T H E S T I T C H E R P O D C A S T I N G R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 1
  2. 2. As one of the original podcast players, one of the first to operate on Android, and a top-used platform for a decade, Stitcher is uniquely positioned to offer valuable data to the podcast community. By releasing this data, we are providing a fresh look at the breadth, depth and growth of the industry over the past 10 years. The information in this report provides a look at the industry’s evolution, where it stands today, and the trends that are shaping its future. We break down top shows and genres, user demographics, listener behavior, regional distinctions, and more. The data underlying this report are derived, for the most part, from actual in-app user behavior. Some demographic data (specifically cited on page 3) come from self-reported survey data which have been cross-referenced with other data sets. We’re excited to be the first platform in the podcast industry to pull back the curtain on our data to add to the understanding of podcast listeners and help us all advance this medium — there’s something for everyone here. — The Stitcher Team Welcome to the inaugural Stitcher Podcasting Report, a first-of-its-kind look at the podcast listener from a behavioral data perspective. 2
  3. 3. About this report To compile this report, the Stitcher data team analyzed 10 years of content and listener behavior data collected directly from the Stitcher App and combined it with user-reported data and demographics from our PodSurvey, the industry’s largest ongoing survey of podcast listeners. Here’s more about our data sources: Stitcher App data: Stitcher captures data on specific user actions within the Stitcher podcast app environment, including which shows are consumed, when, and for how long. All data is aggregated across monthly active users. Unless otherwise noted, behavioral data is taken from the period of Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019. PodSurvey data: Hosts of the hundreds of shows for whom Stitcher sells advertising ask their listeners to take our short online survey throughout the year. All data that references PodSurvey in this report is based on the nearly 110,000 responses received in 2019. All non-behavioral data in this report (e.g., demographics, years listened) is therefore self-reported. Additional data notes We use several user behaviors to make comparisons and draw conclusions throughout the report. For a quick reference, here are some of the most common: Binge listen: When a user listens to at least 90% of three episodes of one show in one day. Completion rate: The percentage of an episode that was listened to. Favorited show: A show that a user has clicked to add to their “Favorites” within the Stitcher app. New episodes are then automatically downloaded per the user’s account settings. This action is also often referred to as “subscribing” to a show. Hours listened: The amount of time a user has spent listening to a show or episode. TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1: Content (pg. 4 – 21) Chapter 2: Listening Behavior (pg. 22 – 32) Chapter 3: The Stitcher Listener (pg. 33 – 40) © 2020 Stitcher 3
  4. 4. ContentC H A P T E R O N E 4
  5. 5. The past decade in podcasting has been defined by explosive growth and change in the content landscape. Ten years ago, the podcasts that topped the charts were mostly rebroadcast radio shows and a few breakout podcast-only shows. Today, podcast-first shows dominate, but public radio shows are still popular. The mini-series has emerged as a popular format, and new crime shows have left listeners thirsty for more of the “true crime” genre. In this chapter, we track this growth and explore the evolving story around show formats, genres, episode lengths and more. Two words that sum up the past decade in podcast content: explosive growth. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 CONTENT 5
  6. 6. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 CONTENT 6 Key Content Findings The growth of podcast content is not slowing down. • 350,000 podcasts have been published to Stitcher since 2010. • Close to 7 million episodes were published to Stitcher in 2019 alone. Old favorites have staying power. • 17 shows that were in the top 100 in 2010 are still in the top 100 as many established shows retain fans and continue to find new listeners. New formats and genres have emerged. • The newer “true crime” genre came in No. 1 for total listening hours and binge-listening hours in 2019. • The number of mini-series podcasts grew from 4 in 2010 to more than 52,000 in 10 years. Episodes are trending shorter. • The average show length has decreased by 2.4 minutes since 2013. • Reported or scripted shows tend to be shorter, while chat-based shows are longer.
  7. 7. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Podcasts Then and Now 2010 Rebroadcast radio shows dominate. There are 4 mini-series shows. The Joe Rogan Experience, WTF with Marc Maron, and alt comedy shows start to surface. 2019 Podcast-first shows dominate. Commercial rebroadcast shows have dropped as a % of all shows. Shows originating on public radio are still popular. The mini-series format has grown to 52,289 shows. CONTENT 7
  8. 8. Source: Stitcher App data. *Note: Podcasters must proactively add their show to the Stitcher App, either through their hosting provider or by uploading to our platform directly. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Total Podcasts Published to Stitcher GGI CONTENT 8 The number of episodes grew at a 62% compound annual growth rate from 2014–2019. 6.8 million episodes were published to Stitcher in 2019.
  9. 9. N/A: Show launched after 2010. Source: Stitcher App data. When ranked by number of listeners, 17 shows that were in the top 100 in 2010 were still in the top 100 in 2019. 21 110 N/A 101 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 20102019 RANK N/A N/A N/A N/A 29 16 17 18 19 20 20102019 RANK S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Top 25 Podcasts Compared, 2010-2019 N/A 103 N/A N/A 5 11 12 13 14 15 20102019 RANK N/A 46 N/A N/A N/A 6 7 8 9 10 20102019 RANK N/A 11 N/A 22 N/A 21 22 23 24 25 20102019 RANK CONTENT 9
  10. 10. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 AGE 18–34 S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Generations of Podcast Listeners Source: Stitcher App data. *Based on the number of “Favorites” (subscribers) per show. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 AGE 35–55 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 AGE 56+ CONTENT Most favorited* podcasts by age group (2019) 10 True crime shows top the charts for the 18- to 55-year-old age groups. The 56+ age group has more diverse show preferences, with a mix of news, culture and history shows in top spots.
  11. 11. Female 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Content Interests Across Identities CONTENT Most favorited* podcast by gender (2019) Male 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 Non- conforming 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 Source: PodSurvey/Stitcher App data. *Based on the number of “Favorites” (subscribers) per show. 11 True crime shows are popular with women. Men have more diverse preferences, ranging from history and news to celebrity interview and culture shows. Gender non- conforming listeners tend to seek out more niche shows.
  12. 12. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Top 10 favorited shows (2019) Top 10 favorited shows (2019) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 New and Old Listeners’ Favorites CONTENT Source: PodSurvey/Stitcher App data. *"New listeners" are users who've been listening for less than 1 year. 12 New listeners* 1–2-year listeners The top shows for new podcast listeners lean heavily in the true crime category. True crime may be a popular entry point for new listeners. True crime was also a very popular genre for listeners with 1-2 years of listening history. True crime shows win as a top favorite among new-to-podcasting listeners.
  13. 13. Source: PodSurvey/Stitcher App data. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 Top 10 favorited shows (2019) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 Top 10 favorited shows (2019) New and Old Listener Favorites, Continued CONTENT 13 3–4-year listeners 5+-year listeners Users who said they had been listening to podcasts for 3–4 years also listened to a lot of true crime, however there were more top shows in the news/talk categories such as This American Life and Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. Five+-year listeners have more varied tastes in podcasts with several different genres showing up in their top 50. Longtime listeners mix it up.
  14. 14. 21.8M hours 19.6M hours 18.5M hours 17.4M hours True Crime Comedy News & Politics Society & Culture Sports 9.2M hours 3.6M hours 2.7M hours 5M hours 42% 18% 14% 29% 0.9M hours 10M hours Pop Culture 2.9M hours 9.2M hours 32% S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 BINGE LISTEN: When a user listens to at least 90% of three episodes of one show in a day. Binge Listening By Genre Total listening hours Binge listening hours Total listening vs. binge listening by genre LISTENING TIME GENRE Source: Stitcher App data. CONTENT 14 Some genres are binged (a lot) more than others. Total 2019 binge listening across all genres: 34 million hours 9%
  15. 15. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Top 20 Podcasts by Binging Hours (2019) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 CONTENT 15 Source: Stitcher App data.
  16. 16. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 2011 S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Top 20 Mini-Series (2019)* Mini-series: A show that has released 2–12 episodes. Source: Stitcher App data. *By number of unique listeners. CONTENT 16 14.4% of the top 1,000 shows were mini-series in 2019. The number of mini-series podcasts grew from 4 in 2010 to more than 52,000 in 10 years.
  17. 17. The average episode length has shortened from 51.8 minutes in 2013 to 49.4 minutes in 2019. Episode lengths peak at 30-minute and 60-minute shows. In 2019, the episode length outliers got more extreme — in other words, there are more very long shows. Source: Stitcher App data. Episode duration data from the top 25% of shows based on number of users. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Average Episode Length (2013-2019) CONTENT Distribution of average episode length per show Yearpublished Duration in minutes 17 Shows are getting (just a little) shorter.
  18. 18. Source: Stitcher App data. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 CONTENT Highs and Lows in Episode Lengths EpisodeLengthinMinutes Episode length by genre (2013-2019) Year published 18 Reported or scripted shows (news, business, science & medicine) tend to be shorter. Chat-based shows (pop culture, comedy, games & hobbies) are longer.
  19. 19. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Where Listeners Gather CONTENT Number of listeners by genre* (2017-2019) Source: Stitcher App data. *Podcast publishers self-identify categories when they publish shows. Listeners 19 Fastest-growing genres by number of listeners among genres with more than 500K listeners. Fastest-growing genres by number of listeners among genres with less than 500K listeners.
  20. 20. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Genres on the Rise CONTENT Number of shows by genre (2017-2019) Source: Stitcher App data. *True Crime is a sub-set of shows categorized by Stitcher. * Fastest-growing genres by number of shows. 20
  21. 21. 21 S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Business 1. Planet Money 2. How I Built This with Guy Raz 3. The Indicator from Planet Money 4. The Dave Ramsey Show 5. The Relentless: It’s Time to Look at Success Differently Comedy 1. The Joe Rogan Experience 2. Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend 3. Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard 4. WTF with Marc Maron Podcast 5. How Did This Get Made? Education 1. Stuff You Should Know 2. TED Talks Daily 3. Every Little Thing 4. Ologies with Alie Ward 5. The Wild Games & Hobbies 1. Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! 2. Ask Me Another 3. Wizard and the Bruiser 4. Not Another D&D Podcast 5. Giant Bombcast Kids & Family 1. How to Raise a Parent 2. The Longest Shortest Time 3. Motherhood Sessions 4. Wow in the World 5. Josie & Jonny Are Having a Baby (With You!) Science & Medicine 1. Radiolab 2. Hidden Brain 3. Revisionist History 4. Science Vs 5. Overheard at National Geographic Society & Culture 1. This American Life 2. Freakonomics Radio (Stitcher Exclusive) 3. TED Radio Hour 4. Fresh Air 5. The Clearing Sports 1. The Bill Simmons Podcast 2. Fantasy Footballers - Fantasy Football Podcast 3. 30 For 30 Podcasts 4. The Fighter & The Kid 5. Throwback Storytelling 1. The Moth 2. Invisibilia 3. Snap Judgment 4. Myths and Legends 5. RISK! True Crime 1. My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark 2. True Crime Garage 3. Serial 4. Casefile True Crime 5. Last Podcast On The Left Lifestyle & Health 1. The Tim Ferriss Show 2. Ear Hustle 3. Happier with Gretchen Rubin 4. The Sporkful 5. Better at Everything Music & Commentary 1. Dolly Parton's America 2. Song Exploder 3. Bizarre Albums 4. Broken Record with Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam and Justin Richmond 5. Punch Up The Jam News & Politics 1. The Daily 2. Pod Save America 3. Today, Explained 4. Up First 5. The Rachel Maddow Show Pop Culture, TV & Film 1. The Chernobyl Podcast 2. Stuff They Don't Want You To Know 3. Headlong: Running from COPS 4. Pop Culture Happy Hour 5. The Killing of JonBenet: The Final Suspects Religion & Spirituality 1. Tara Brach 2. Haunted Places 3. The Astro Poets Podcast 4. The Science of Happiness 5. Joyce Meyer Radio Podcast CONTENT Top 5 Podcasts in Each Genre Ranked by number of listeners in 2019 Source: Stitcher App data.
  22. 22. Listening BehaviorC H A P T E R T W O
  23. 23. In this chapter, we’ve analyzed a decade of podcast listening behavior collected from the Stitcher App. During that time, every metric we measure has grown as the medium of podcasting has moved into the mainstream. A real spike in listening hours started in 2017, which correlates with overall user growth, but listening hours per user has also seen a dramatic increase over the decade. Even so, a dedicated subset of “power listeners” drives a majority of listening hours. Here, you’ll find data that reveal when people listen to podcasts and get a first-ever look into binge listening and grazing behaviors, as well as learn differences between new and long-time users and light and heavy listeners. Listening hours are on the rise as users integrate podcasts into weekday routines. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 LISTENING BEHAVIOR 23
  24. 24. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 LISTENING BEHAVIOR 24 Peak listening periods are on weekdays. • Listening peaks Monday through Thursday, dips on Friday and declines over the weekend. • Listening distribution is fairly consistent throughout regular waking hours, with slight peaks in the morning and late afternoon. • Listening declines over major holidays. Binging isn’t just for TV. • In the last two years, the number of hours binged has more than tripled, and the number of users who binge listen has doubled. New listeners behave differently than long-time listeners. • Long-time listeners have established show and genre preferences. • New listeners are more likely to “graze” different shows. “Grazing” is not an insignificant listening habit. • Even with messaging across the industry to “subscribe” or “favorite,” 21% of Stitcher listeners choose to graze episodes instead. • New listeners graze more than long-time listeners. Key Listening Behavior Findings
  25. 25. Source: Stitcher App data. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Listening on the Up (and Up)! LISTENING BEHAVIOR Monthly listening hours per listener (2009-2019) Hourslistened Average Median Hourslistened Total hours listened (2009-2019) 200 M 150 M 100M 50M 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 50% 49% 26% 12% % Indicates year-over-year growth 25
  26. 26. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 LISTENING BEHAVIOR Source: Stitcher App data. Hourslistened/week(avg.) % of users % of total listening hours Listening time by user group (2019) Hourslistened/week(avg.) Source: Stitcher App data. *Note: To count as a “listen” in this case, users must have listened to at least 50% of the episode. Shows listened* per user group (2019) Median Average Power Listeners vs. Average Users Some podcast fans are truly dedicated, racking up 10 hours of listening time or more every week. 26 Less than 10% of users account for 57% of all listening time. All users 10+ hr 5-10 hr 1-5 hr <1 hr
  27. 27. Source: Stitcher App data. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Daytime is Podcast Time LISTENING BEHAVIOR Average users per hour (2019) 27 Hours with the most listeners on average: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Listening volume is lower on Fridays, nights and weekends.
  28. 28. Source: Stitcher App data. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Listening Peaks and Valleys LISTENING BEHAVIOR Average hours listened per day of week (2019) Averagelisteninghours Averagelisteninghours Total hours listened on average by local time of day (2019) 28 Peak listening days: Monday-Thursday Listening dips on the weekends.
  29. 29. Source: Stitcher App data. Note: Results reflect the top 25th percentile of shows and only include episodes published in 2019 with at least 500 listens. Podcast Listeners Finish What They Start S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 LISTENING BEHAVIOR Completion rate: The percentage of an episode that was listened to. Even as listening time goes up, podcast listeners finish most of their episodes. Average completion rate and episode duration (2019) 29 Average completion rate % % % %
  30. 30. Source: Stitcher App data. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Holiday Weeks Are for Podcast Breaks LISTENING BEHAVIOR Weekly listening hours (2018-2019) Millionsoflisteninghours Mar ’18 Jun ’18 Sep ’18 Dec ’18 Mar ’19 Jun ’19 Sep ’19 Dec ’19 Mar ’20 The rest of the weeks are for podcasts. 30 Listening hours dip during holiday periods. The 2019 winter holiday week saw a 24% decrease in listening hours compared to the previous week.
  31. 31. Source: Stitcher App data. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Binge Listening Habits LISTENING BEHAVIOR Binge listen: When a user listens to at least 90% of three episodes of one show in one day. Excludes episodes less than one-minute. Bingeusers Binge users by day of week Average in 2019 Binging hours by year Millionsofhours 31 Work hours are the most popular “binging” hours. In the last two years, the number of hours binged has more than tripled, and the number of binging users has doubled. Binging has increased and is happening mostly during work hours.
  32. 32. Source: Stitcher App data. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 New Listeners Graze for Fresh Content LISTENING BEHAVIOR Grazers: Users who click to listen to an episode but haven’t subscribed to or “favorited” the show. Percentageofusersgrazing Grazing behavior (2019) Years listening to podcasts 32 The average grazing rate for all users is 15.7%. Grazing behavior declines the longer users listen. This makes sense as “older” listeners tend to have more established listening habits and tastes.
  33. 33. The Stitcher ListenerC H A P T E R T H R E E 00
  34. 34. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 As the podcast industry grows, more people are listening. But who are they, where do they live and what do they like? We’ve answered these questions by analyzing data collected from the Stitcher App cross-referenced with self-reported PodSurvey data. Many of our findings reflect the existing industry knowledge about podcast listeners, but there are also some surprises here. In this chapter, you’ll find a state-by-state breakdown of users and listening hours and see how some of the top shows differ by state. We also dive into the demographics of our listeners and how they behave. Differences emerge in listening preferences by age, sex, state and more. THE STITCHER LISTENER 34
  35. 35. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 THE STITCHER LISTENER 35 Some states carry more listening weight. • The rankings of podcast listeners and listening hours by state don’t entirely line up with population rankings. For example, Washington ranks No. 4 for listening hours, but ranks 13th in population. Illinois beats Florida in listening hours despite having fewer people. Washington, D.C. also listens more from a population perspective. Place matters. • This American Life is the most popular show in many coastal states. • The Joe Rogan Experience comes out on top in the middle of the country. • Shows that dive into local crimes rank high in the states where they happen, like Crimetown in Rhode Island and Bardstown in Kentucky. Younger people are more likely to listen, but older groups listen more. • The 18–34 age group makes up the biggest group of listeners, but the 35–55 age group listens to more hours per user and favorites more shows. Women are committers. • Men and women listen for about the same amount of hours per week. • Women favorite more shows and listen to more shows per week on average than men. Key Findings About Stitcher Listeners
  36. 36. Source: Stitcher App data. Big States, Big Listening S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 THE STITCHER LISTENER Percent of total Stitcher users by state (2019) 36 Washington, Illinois and Massachusetts have a higher density of Stitcher listeners when compared to their overall percentage of the population. Alaska, Delaware and Wyoming are tied for the smallest percentage of total users. .02% 11.4% % of users
  37. 37. Pod-to-Pod Showdown: Joe vs. Ira S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 THE STITCHER LISTENER The Joe Rogan Experience and Ira Glass’ This American Life have topped the charts nationwide for years, but each eke out an advantage based on geography. No. 1 podcast by state* (2019) The Joe Rogan Experience and This American Life came in No. 1 and No. 2 in every state except for these outliers: Maryland, New York Washington, D.C.: The Daily is No. 2. Arkansas, Mississippi: True Crime Garage is No. 2. Washington, D.C.: The Joe Rogan Experience didn’t make the top 5. *Ranked by number of unique listeners. Source: Stitcher App data. 37 The Joe Rogan Experience This American Life Cold (UTAH) Most popular show
  38. 38. *Includes Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Source: Stitcher App data. Place Matters S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 THE STITCHER LISTENER These place-based shows are more popular in their home states than in other states. Rhode Island New Hampshire Kentucky Mississippi Shows that dive into local crime are popular in their home states. And popular shows and genres dominate search terms across states. Times appeared in Search term top 5 search terms by state* Serial 52 Joe Rogan 51 True Crime 46 NPR 36 Dr. Phil 19 38 Top 5 search terms across states
  39. 39. While both genders listen for roughly the same amount of hours, women favorite more shows and fit in more shows per week. Women Are More Engaged S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 THE STITCHER LISTENER *Favorite: A show that a user clicks to add to their “Favorites” within the Stitcher App. New episodes download automatically. Female Male Non-conforming Stitcher audience by gender Source: 2019 PodSurvey/Stitcher App data. Average number of shows listened per week Average number of shows listened Gender Source: 2019 PodSurvey/Stitcher App data. Gender Average total favorites* by gender Average total favorites Source: 2019 PodSurvey/Stitcher App data. 39 The average hours listened per week are about the same across genders: 10
  40. 40. Generational Divides S T I T C H E R R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 18–34 35–55 56+ THE STITCHER LISTENER Younger listeners outnumber older ones, but the 35–55 age group favorites more shows and listens longer. Source: 2019 PodSurvey/ Stitcher App data. Stitcher audience by age Avg. hours Median hours 40 Average total favorites* by age Avg. total favorites Age Source: 2019 PodSurvey/Stitcher App data. *Favorite: A show that a user clicks to add to their “Favorites” within the Stitcher App. New episodes download automatically. 56+ Hours listened per week Age Source: 2019 PodSurvey/Stitcher App data. Hours 56+ Average number of shows listened per week Avg. number of shows listened Age Source: 2019 PodSurvey/Stitcher App data. 56+
  41. 41. 41 Stitcher is the best place to listen to, produce and monetize podcasts. The Stitcher app, available for iOS and Android devices, is one of the world's most popular podcast listening platforms, with a growing network of original content and a premium subscription service. Stitcher is the parent company of Midroll Media, the leading podcast advertising network representing over 200 of the world's largest podcasts, and top-ranked comedy podcast network Earwolf. With offices in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco, Stitcher was founded in 2007 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP). SPECIAL THANKS TO: Sarah Breitenother Amy Fitzgibbons Jodi George Asa Jordan Amy Leibrock Cameron Maher Paul Riismandel

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