Daily news podcasts may top some rankers of the most listened-to shows. True crime podcasts get lots of ink in newspapers around the country. But ask real humans what podcast they’re listening to, as Edison Research has done, and the most listened-to show genre is a lot less gory or serious.
More than a third (36%) of weekly podcast listeners said they listened to a show that fell under the Comedy banner, according to Edison Research which conducted the survey for its new quarterly Podcast Consumer Tracker. That’s significantly more than the 23% who said they listened to News genre podcasts or 22% who said they consumed shows in the Society & Culture genre. Sports ranked fourth, followed by True Crime—which despite the buzz was listened to by only 12% of those surveyed, Edison says.
Edison SVP Tom Webster says the data was collected during the third quarter and notes it’s a measure of what people are listening to and not what they are downloading. They did that by collecting information about specific podcasts as part of the company’s sample of weekly consumers, which it then matched to a list of podcast genre data using Apple Podcast definitions. Webster also notes in a blog post that the first-ever release of the quarterly data is not a representation of the share each of the genres has. “People can and do listen to podcasts from multiple genres,” he said.
Edison Research announced last spring that it would begin producing a four-times-a-year analysis of the podcast marketplace, taking the industry a step closer to having regular ratings reports. The company released its first Podcast Consumer Tracker to ten charter subscribers last month. Webster said that response has been “tremendous” and that, based on client suggestions, the service will continue to evolve. He said that the suggestion to release a report showing which genres of podcasts people are listening to was one of those suggestions, crediting Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez for the idea.
The findings are based on data from a sample of 2,000 adults, aged 18 and older, which allows Edison to track demographics, content preferences, and listening behaviors for clients and platforms. The quarterly report gives clients specific show-level data. While Edison hasn’t made public any numbers, it did reveal its data showed The Joe Rogan Experience was the biggest podcast in terms of reach among weekly podcast consumers during third quarter. And that a majority (54%) of weekly podcast consumers reported they had listened to an unaffiliated, independent podcast.
Edison expects to release its next Podcast Consumer Tracker in January.