What are Americans listening to during the coronavirus lockdown, and how does that stack up to other hard-hit countries? The global podcast technology and advertising company Voxnest has been analyzing its data and is providing a snapshot of what’s hot for stuck-at-home listeners. The company says three of the top ten podcast genres in the U.S. during March were music-related, with the biggest increase in listens in the Design, Food, Music Interviews, Medicine, and Music History categories.
In Italy and Spain, two countries where the COVID-19 impact has been severe, Voxnest says people have been turning to other types of podcasts. In Italy the genres with the most growth last month included True Crime, Fiction, Self-Improvement, Kids & Family, and Improv. While in Spain, it says the big leaps were in the Science, Health & Fitness, Politics, Society & Culture, and Comedy podcast genres.
“While Religion & Spirituality isn’t at the very top of each country’s charts as it was in March, it still remains in the top ten for each country,” says Voxnext in a blog post. “All the other top categories showcase that people across the globe are diving into their hobbies, learning and finding podcasts as a source of entertainment.” It says podcast advertisers can sleep easy as long as they consider directing their buys toward verticals that are continuing to attract consumers.
Global podcast listening levels were up 42% during March, according to Voxnest, helped by a bigger 53% growth rate in the still up-and-and coming European region. The company views that as a potential positive since it is opening a region where podcast listening wasn’t previously as popular as it is in the U.S., being at home has opened up a new opportunity to discover the medium. “It’s possible that the newfound podcast listening in Europe during quarantine could ignite a more loyal and deeply engaged group of European listeners,” it says.
Meanwhile in the U.S., where podcasting is more established, Voxnest says its data shows listens were down 20% last month. “In a country like the U.S., where podcast listening is strongly correlated to behaviors like commuting, the disruption of this routine is playing a large role in the decrease,” it says. “While we can’t predict what’s to come, we think that as U.S. listeners start getting more adjusted to being home and getting in a new ‘normal’ groove, we could see listens head back up.”
Voxnest earlier said that its hosting platform Spreaker has seen a “pretty significant” jump in new users joining the platform to create podcasts. During a four-week period in March it said Spreaker’s most popular plans have seen sign-ups increase by 75% globally, and new users in Italy almost doubling.