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The Stitcher Podcasting Report: Pandemic Update


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An update on listening trends during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Stitcher Podcasting Report: Pandemic Update

  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 P A N D E M I C U P D A T E
  2. 2. As we prepared to launch the inaugural Stitcher Podcasting Report in early March, news was building about the novel coronavirus and its spread around the world. It quickly became clear that the pandemic was going to radically alter American life for an unknown amount of time. With that in mind, we decided to delay launching the report until we had some data to share about how this public health emergency is affecting podcast listening behavior. The data in this addendum is a snapshot of the 8 weeks, from March 1 – April 27, 2020, when workplaces closed, schools shut down, governors issued stay-at-home orders, and we started adjusting to this different way of life. Based on our data, podcast listening did drop some as these changes rolled through society, but the good news is that listening didn’t decline by much, and we’re already starting to see a return to pre-COVID-19 listening levels. We will continue to monitor the numbers this year and plan to share more of our findings in the future. We think this early data is more proof that podcasting has become an integral part of the American public’s media consumption. It’s a medium listeners depend on to both make sense of the daily news cycle and to escape it. And because producers can record podcasts from just about anywhere, creators can safely make shows even as social distancing continues. — The Stitcher Team Listening Behavior Since Covid-19 2 © 2020 Stitcher
  3. 3. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T : P A N D E M I C U P D A T E Source: Stitcher App data. 3 Listeninghours(millions) Weekly listening hours Active Users Stitcher Monthly Active Users (MAUs) showed little difference from February to March 2020 and only a slight drop of 4% in April from the previous month, primarily stemming from a smaller number of new incoming users. Total Listening Hours Total listening hours during the first 8 weeks of the pandemic (March 1 - April 27) decreased by about 14% compared to the previous 8 weeks. Even then, they had not dropped to the levels we typically see during holidays. July 4th Thanksgiving Winter Holidays Pandemic 0 2 4 6
  4. 4. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T : P A N D E M I C U P D A T E Source: Stitcher App data. 4 When comparing the average hours listened per user during the 8 weeks prior to the pandemic with the first 8 weeks of the pandemic, we see an average drop of 24 weekly listening minutes per user, from approximately 7.9 hours per week to 7.4 hours per week. In the last two weeks of April, we began to see a return to pre- COVID levels of listening hours per user and an increase in total listening time across the platform. Listening Time Per User Averagehoursperweek Average weekly listening hours per user
  5. 5. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T : P A N D E M I C U P D A T E Source: Stitcher App data. 5 The number of listeners has decreased primarily during weekday commuting hours, peaking instead over lunchtime, from 11am-2pm. The spread of listening across the days of the week, however, has remained unchanged. Other factors, such as listening by state, have not changed compared to pre-COVID data. Listening Times Listeners Changes in listening times since March 2020 2020-03-02 2020-03-09 2020-03-16 2020-03-23 2020-03-30 2020-04-06 2020-04-13
  6. 6. Changes in listening hours by genre, week over week S T I T C H E R R E P O R T : P A N D E M I C U P D A T E Source: 2020 Stitcher App data. 6 Most genres saw their biggest dip in listening coincide with the start of stay-at-home orders beginning the week of March 16. True Crime, Sports, Games & Hobbies, and Comedy genres were the hardest hit. As the pandemic reached its seventh week, Science & Medicine shows began to see a decline in listening, with a 13% drop the week of April 27. The Sports and Comedy genres showed the biggest rebounds with things like the NFL draft and other sports news hitting at the end of April — and new quarantine comedy shows popping up in mid-April. Listening By Genres Before 3/1/2020 After 3/1/2020
  7. 7. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T : P A N D E M I C U P D A T E Source: 2020 Stitcher App data. 7 Binge listening habits decreased at the start of the pandemic but are beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. Binge Listening Habits Binge listening hours by week Hours
  8. 8. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T : P A N D E M I C U P D A T E Source: 2020 Stitcher App data. 8 Most genres saw a decrease in binge listing hours, ranging from -8% for Science & Medicine to -27% for True Crime. But True Crime was still the most-binged genre, with more than twice as many binged hours than Comedy, the second most-binged genre. Binge Listening By Genre Change in binging hours week over week Before 3/1/2020 After 3/1/2020 Binge listen: When a user listens to at least 90% of three episodes of one show in a day.
  9. 9. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T : P A N D E M I C U P D A T E Source: 2020 Stitcher App data. 9 We’ve witnessed some changes in top show rankings as listeners tuned in for pandemic-related coverage (measured by number of listeners). Content Shifts At the start of the pandemic, listeners sought more coronavirus-related content, broadly. Searches for terms related to “coronavirus” began to pop in February and then became the third most searched term by mid-March. As the coronavirus pandemic has continued, search numbers have decreased. Search Terms The Joe Rogan Experience has remained the most popular podcast. But The Daily has taken over as the second most popular, bumping This American Life down to the No. 3 spot. News and topical shows like Up First, Planet Money, and The Rachel Maddow Show have also risen in popularity during the pandemic. Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction was the only coronavirus-specific show to make an appearance in the top 25 shows, during the week of March 16th.
  10. 10. S T I T C H E R R E P O R T : P A N D E M I C U P D A T E Source: 2020 Stitcher App data. 10 The one genre that has gained in binging hours during the pandemic is Kids & Family, which saw weekly binging hours increase by 4%. Within the Kids & Family genre, the top 5 shows in the weeks before the pandemic were mostly aimed at parents. During the pandemic, shows made for kids took over the top 5 spots as parents turned to podcasts to entertain their children. Kids & Family Genre 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Top 5 Kids & Family Podcasts (1/5/2020–2/29/2020) Top 5 Kids & Family Podcasts (3/1/2020–4/25/2020) Kids shows
  11. 11. 11 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).