Podtrac reports June was a rebound month for podcasters after aslight pullback in May. The company says eight of the top 10 publishers posted a month-to-month increase in their U.S. unique monthly audience in June. The average increase was up 6% compared to May. But even more significant is the year-to-year gain. Podtrac says the top 10 publishers were up an average 47% compared to June 2018.
With near-universal growth, the monthly ranker has a familiar flavor with the top five publishers remaining the same. NPR was the largest podcast publisher during June with nearly 144 million downloads and streams for its shows. And iHeartRadio remained the biggest commercial podcaster with nearly 130 million. PRX, Wondery and the New York Times rounded out the top five.
Podtrac notes Wondery had the biggest gain of any publisher last month, with its 75 shows posting a month-to-month increase of 17% in their U.S. unique monthly audience. The only podcasters to see decreases were iHeartRadio—a reflection of the end of the first season of The Ron Burgundy Podcast and the big listening numbers it attracted—and This American Life/Serial. The good news for iHeart is the second season of Burgundy’s podcast debuts in August. And the first season remains No. 1 on iHeartRadio’s ranker of the most listened-to shows on its platform.
In April Podtrac updated the measurement algorithm that calculates unique downloads brought about by its embrace of standards developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab. The IAB’s Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines 2.0 changed what counts as a download. For example, in the past, if someone were to listen to a podcast, press stop, then play again, that would count as two downloads. Now, it counts as one. Plus, someone needs to listen for a full 60 seconds before it counts as a download.
Podtrac said when the changes were implemented in April that it would have a better sense of the impact once the June data rolled in. The stability in the ranker suggests that while the numbers have been reset, the overall effect of the revised methodology may not be as severe as some feared. The overall growth of podcast listening also means factors such as show release schedules and launches are likely to still have a bigger impact than the new IAB v2 standards.