Growth in podcast listening continues into the new year as Podtrac reports the top 15 publishers, among those it measures, saw their average unique monthly audience increase 37% in January compared to a year ago. The number of unique streams and downloads among the top publishers also jumped 20% last month compared to December. And among all the publishers tracked by Podtrac, there were a combined 1.3 billion downloads in January. That was a 21% increase compared to the prior month.
NPR remained the publisher with the largest total number of downloads, with iHeartRadio the biggest commercial podcaster. Wondery held steady in third while PRX moved up one position to push the New York Times back to fifth place.
Elsewhere in the top 15, Podtrac reports NBC News had its best month yet with a unique audience of more than 6.1 million. And Cumulus Media/Westwood One joined the ranking this month at No. 11 with a unique audience of 4.7 million.
Podtrac says the average unique monthly audience for the top 15 publishers decreased 5% compared to December. But that’s likely due to what it says was a popular podcast app providing less-specific user agent data on which the unique monthly audience data is based on. Podtrac did not identify which app was the culprit, but said it is currently working on “a refinement” to the unique monthly audience algorithm to address the issue.