Podtrac

The COVID-19 pandemic is making an impact on virtually every angle of life in the U.S., including Americans’ appetites for podcast listening.

The latest rankings from Podtrac find that weekly downloads and audience numbers have been trending downward since March 9, while overall growth in those metrics remain positive on a year-over-year basis.

The one podcasting category seeing a big spike: news. Through March 22, its year-to-date download growth is up a whopping 74%. That’s certainly to be expected, given the prominence that the coronavirus story — with its obvious health and economic implications — has for the entire nation.

Podtrac says download growth since the first week of January is 31%, with audience growth through March 22 up 14%. But things are trending downward as of late. In the U.S., podcast downloads fell 1% during the week ending March 15, and 2% for the week ending March 22 across all Podtrac measured podcasts.

Podtrac says weekly U.S. podcast audiences fell 2% for the week ending March 15, and 8% for the week ending March 22.

After the news category, which has shown the biggest year-to-date download growth (through March 22), Comedy has grown 34%, followed by Sports (21%) and Society & Culture (12%). And perhaps suggesting that daily life is already frightening enough, the True Crime category is down 8%.

For the week ending March 22, all categories have declined in download growth compared with the week ending March 15. True Crime is again seeing the biggest drop, down 10%.

In terms of weekly audience growth on a year-to-date basis (through March 22), News is up 36%, followed by Comedy (14%), Sports (7%) and Society & Culture (5%). True Crime, meanwhile, is down 6%.