True crime is the most typical matter; 15% of the highest podcasts give attention to information
This research takes an in depth have a look at key traits of top-ranked podcasts. It’s a continuation of labor that Pew Analysis Middle has completed analyzing podcasts as a part of the news and information landscape in the U.S.
This evaluation examines 451 top-ranked podcasts. Researchers recognized these high podcasts by analyzing day by day lists of the highest 200 podcasts on Apple Podcasts and Spotify from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2022 (chart knowledge supplied by Podchaser, Inc.). The common chart place of every podcast that appeared on both listing was calculated, and the highest 300 podcasts from every web site had been included as high podcasts. By combining these lists in order that podcasts that had been among the many high 300 on each websites weren’t counted twice, researchers recognized 451 high podcasts.
A crew of educated researchers then analyzed these 451 podcasts to find out podcast affiliation, matter, format and different key traits of every podcast. Further knowledge on episode size and frequency was analyzed after gathering knowledge on all episodes revealed in 2022 by the Spotify and Apple Podcasts APIs.
Pew Analysis Middle is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its major funder. That is the newest report in Pew Analysis Middle’s ongoing investigation of the state of reports, info and journalism within the digital age, a analysis program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with beneficiant help from the John S. and James L. Knight Basis.
Though it’s a lot newer than different media like tv or books, the podcast ecosystem has created a wealthy library of content material overlaying a variety of subjects each standard and area of interest.
A brand new Pew Analysis Middle research of 451 of the top-ranked podcasts in the USA exhibits this range of topics: No single matter is the primary focus of greater than 1 / 4 of those podcasts.
True crime is the most typical matter, making up 24% of those top-ranked podcasts – maybe reflecting the early popularity of Serial. The subsequent commonest subjects are politics and authorities (10%); leisure, popular culture and the humanities (9%); and self-help and relationships (8%).
There are additionally a lot of podcasts that don’t match into any of those subjects (12%), resembling fictional radio tales and groups of individuals taking part in the role-playing sport Dungeons & Dragons.
One-fifth of those high podcasts – that are these with the best common day by day rankings on Apple’s and Spotify’s lists of high podcasts in a six-month interval in 2022 – focus on a number of subjects. Many of those podcasts are like speak exhibits, with the dialogue flowing throughout subjects.
The listing of high podcasts usually displays the pursuits of U.S. listeners. Among the many 49% of U.S. adults who mentioned in a 2022 Middle survey that they listened to a podcast within the final 12 months, leisure, politics, historical past and true crime had been all amongst the most common topics these podcast listeners turned to.
What’s a top-ranked podcast?
To create an inventory of top-ranked podcasts for this research, researchers collected the highest 200 podcasts from the day by day high charts on Apple Podcasts and Spotify from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2022, (chart knowledge supplied by Podchaser, Inc.). Though precisely how every web site compiles its listing isn’t public information, it’s assumed to broadly replicate the location’s hottest podcasts, maybe together with another podcasts the location sees as being buzzworthy. For every podcast, researchers calculated the typical chart place for every day the podcast appeared on the highest charts, eradicating any podcasts that had not appeared on these charts for not less than seven days or weren’t primarily in English. The highest 300 podcasts with the best common chart place on their respective itemizing websites had been then thought of “top-ranked podcasts.” Podcasts that appeared on each itemizing websites had been then merged, adjusting for duplicates. This resulted in 451 distinctive top-ranked podcasts.
To evaluate the presence of reports within the podcast universe, researchers additionally checked out how lots of the top-ranked podcasts are targeted totally on information and present occasions, discovering that 15% of the podcasts studied match this description.
Information-focused podcasts may be about any matter, although most are about politics and authorities (49%) or sports activities (29%). Many have their roots in speak radio, and a few, like The Dan Le Batard Present with Stugotz, are instantly related to radio exhibits.
Throughout subjects, the most typical format amongst news-focused podcasts is commentary (49%), whereas smaller shares – 22% every – are centered round deep reporting (podcasts that do in-depth examinations or analyses of a subject or story) or interviews. Simply 6% are information summaries. Commentary is particularly dominant amongst sports activities podcasts (82%).
Information organizations have been investing in podcasts for a number of years, and a few produce podcasts about news and different subjects. They’ve had some success on this space: 18% of top-ranked podcasts are affiliated with considered one of a number of dozen information organizations, resembling NPR, The Wall Road Journal or The Ringer. About half (51%) are affiliated with another sort of group, resembling Wondery or iHeartRadio, and 31% of high podcasts don’t have any affiliation (i.e., they’re impartial).
Present occasions doubtless come up on podcasts extra often than these figures could recommend. Two-thirds of U.S. podcast listeners say news is discussed on the podcasts they listen to, in accordance with a current Middle survey, and the same share (64%) say they hearken to podcasts to remain updated about present occasions. This disconnect could also be the results of podcast codecs or different elements. For instance, some podcasts would possibly focus on information subjects in passing, even when they don’t give attention to information completely. This evaluation didn’t seize such a information reference.
Podcasts are sometimes viewed as a relatively easy way for anybody to inform a narrative. However truly getting an viewers for that storytelling is tougher, and podcast producers use a number of means to develop and join with their audiences. Many of the top-ranked podcasts studied can be found on 4 main itemizing websites – Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Stitcher – and roughly three-quarters have a web site.
A few of these podcasts additionally experiment with different methods to have interaction their audiences. About half of high podcasts (51%) produce a video to accompany most episodes. Many of those movies present the podcast being recorded, offering a extra partaking expertise for viewers. And eight% have a dialogue discussion board or Discord server, to instantly have interaction with their followers or permit followers to attach with one another.
We studied 451 podcasts that had the best common day by day rating on Apple and Spotify from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2022. This new report builds on the Middle’s recent survey of U.S. podcast listeners to provide context round what podcast audiences are listening to.
Different key findings from this evaluation embody:
The rise of podcasts
Podcast listenership within the U.S. has increased steadily since 2013. In 2014, the popular true crime podcast Serial was launched, turning into the quickest podcast to achieve 5 million downloads on iTunes. Years later, this was adopted by investments in podcasts by platforms like Spotify, which paid not less than $200 million for an exclusive deal with The Joe Rogan Experience in 2020.
In a current survey, Pew Analysis Middle discovered that 49% of U.S. adults have listened to a podcast in the past year. Nevertheless, as podcast audiences proceed to develop, some podcast hosts have been accused of spreading unsubstantiated false claims, and others have drawn backlash for offensive content.
This report is the newest from the Middle’s ongoing analysis into podcasts. Earlier experiences lined how Americans engage with podcasts, which podcasts they listen to most, and the differences in engagement with podcasts relying on elements like age and race.
- High-ranked podcasts use quite a lot of codecs: 38% characteristic deep reporting or clarify a subject, roughly 1 / 4 (23%) are interview exhibits, and 16% are primarily based round commentary.
- True crime podcasts are likely to characteristic deep reporting, whereas different subjects use a extra numerous set of codecs. The overwhelming majority of high true crime podcasts (95%) use deep reporting. In distinction, politics and authorities podcasts are roughly evenly cut up amongst interview (33%), deep reporting (28%) and commentary (28%) codecs, whereas a further 9% are information summaries.
- Most top-ranked podcasts have a single host. A majority of high podcasts (58%) characteristic a single host, whereas roughly four-in-ten (37%) have a number of hosts.
- High-ranked podcasts are typically lower than an hour lengthy. For six-in-ten high podcasts, the typical episode size in 2022 was lower than 50 minutes.
- Many top-ranked podcasts flip to their audiences for monetary help. Round half of high podcasts (47%) ask for viewers help by choices resembling subscriptions, donations or merchandise on the market. The Middle’s current survey of U.S. podcast listeners discovered that 13% have paid for a podcast subscription and 12% have purchased merchandise.