Podcasts have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment and information sharing in recent years. From true crime to sports analysis, from history lessons to comedy, there’s a podcast for everyone.
But why are podcasts so popular? In this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons behind the rise of podcasts and why podcasts are so popular.
How Big Is Podcasting?
The global market size is estimated to reach USD 95 billion by 2028. There are over 2 million podcasts available with 48 million active episodes and around 250,000 new episodes published each week.
And they are just growing every year. Demand Sage predicts there will be around 504.9 million podcast listeners worldwide by the end of 2024, and in 2023 there are already 464.7 million podcast listeners globally!
We also can’t get enough of our favorite shows, with the average podcast listener going through 8 different podcasts a week! These numbers are crazy!
It’s not surprising that a growing number of businesses, internet influencers, content creators, celebrities, ex-royalty, and NGOs are jumping in and starting their own podcasts nowadays. All for the sake of raising awareness of their brand and connecting with their audience.
Wonder why podcasts are so popular? Let me explain the 4 main reasons why podcasting is so popular. And will continue to be so in the future.
How Did Podcasts Become Popular?
Podcasting isn’t a new medium. Like its ancestor radio, podcasts let people listen to audio news, music, and stories. The only difference is that they can listen directly on their smartphones or computer and listen to it whenever they want for free.
Podcasts went mainstream when Steve Jobs announced in 2004 that you can download your favorite podcast into your iTunes music library and right onto your iPod.
Podcasts then became increasingly popular over the years for various reasons.
- Technology advancements: It has become easier than ever to create, distribute and consume podcasts.
- The rise of on-demand content: In the last decade how we consume content has changed fundamentally. In a world where people are used to consuming content on their own terms, podcasts provide an on-demand listening experience.
- Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Podcasts make it easy and convenient to listen to your favorite podcasts.
- Niche content: Podcasts allow hosts to create podcast episodes on niche topics that people are interested in but might not have a mainstream audience. This has led to a proliferation of specific podcasts, catering to all kinds of interests, from Harry Potter to hunting.
- Low barrier to entry: As mentioned earlier, starting a podcast is relatively easy and cheap. This has led to a democratization of content creation, allowing anyone to create and distribute their own shows.
- Advertising opportunities: As podcasts have become more popular, advertisers have taken notice. Podcasts offer more personalized and engaging content than traditional ads, leading to higher conversion rates.
All these factors have contributed to the popularity of podcasts, and as the industry continues to evolve, we’ll likely see even more growth in the years to come.
When And Why Did Podcasts Become So Popular?
Just because a podcast can be listened to on a smart device, it didn’t bring millions of listeners instantly.
After the phenomenon of The Ricky Gervais Podcast in 2005, it took a whole lot of drama and true crime to take podcast listening to the next level. In 2014 Serial changed the conventional rules. It released new episodes week by week as a mystery true crime podcast show, building up a story for its listeners, more like a traditional TV show than a podcast. Many people became weekly podcast listeners as a result.
Serial demanded your full attention; it was brought up in conversation with friends, the internet buzzed about Adnan Sayed and it even made it onto a mainstream television show when SNL famously parodied the show.
More and more people started listening to podcasts rather than watching videos or movies. This new format was the fastest podcast that reached 5 million downloads and streams on iTunes. Seasons 1 and 2 went on to be downloaded over 340 million times by 2018, setting an ongoing podcast world record. The stage had been set…
Popularity and Advertising
Once a media channel becomes popular, marketers cannot help but jump in. We saw this with social media advertising. The same applies here to podcasting. Alongside access to these high-production podcasts, companies saw a new medium to sponsor podcasters using unique codes to track which ad platform brings higher revenue to them.
4 Reasons Why Podcasts Are Popular For People
So why are podcasts so popular? Here are the key reasons why people and advertisers cannot get enough of listening to podcasts.
People Can Listen To Everything
Unlike traditional radio programs, most podcasts vary widely in niche and can be downloaded anytime. With millions of podcast channels worldwide, people can listen to audio shows anywhere they want on almost any topic they like.
Plus, all these unique shows remain free, which is very easily accessible entertainment for literally anyone with a smart device or computer.
What makes Saturday chores a lot more fun? A podcast episode from your favorite host! Whether on a long road trip, cooking dinner, studying, or doing the housework, listening to podcast hosts’ episodes helps tedious tasks turn into a great experience.
Trust me, I’m listening to a podcast as I write this post. (It’s called The Rise and Fall of LuLaRoe if you were wondering!)
Podcasts Are Very Accessible
About 6.37 billion people owned a smartphone last year, so it is a no-brainer that podcasts are so accessible. Users can directly listen to their favorite podcast shows on Spotify, Apple Podcast, or other podcast-hosting apps and effortlessly switch from one podcast to the other.
Just like other forms of media like YouTube, social media, or Tik Tok, podcast listeners aren’t committed to only one show! They listen to so many podcasts. In fact, the average U.S. podcast listener listens to eight shows per week. So, not only is it easily accessible entertainment but also very easy to pick and choose personal preferences.
Influencers and content creators live and die for their audience. And what else is a great way to create a closer connection to your people than to speak to them?
Podcasting allows people to show themselves on a new medium and build their communities by hosting long “intimate” conversations. By intimate, I refer to authentic stories and sharing that otherwise are crammed into a 10-minute optimized YouTube video.
Listening to an informative host on a podcast is like hanging out with like-minded people on the topic you are passionate about.
Podcasting builds a close relationship between the host and listener, which inevitably grows podcast communities, increases listens and exposes them to more sponsorships.
Will Podcasting Continue To Be Popular?
With the growing podcast ad revenues, personalization, and accessibility, podcasting will continue to be popular in the future. Oberlo estimates that the number of podcast listeners will surpass 500 million next year, and more small businesses will also jump in to expand their marketing channels on podcasts.
It’s difficult to predict the future with certainty, but it seems likely that podcasts will continue to be popular for the foreseeable future. Another factor contributing to their continued popularity is the growth of smart speaker technology. As more people purchase devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, the demand for audio content that can be listened to hands-free will likely increase.
Overall, while it’s impossible to say for certain what the future holds, it seems likely that podcasts will continue to be a popular form of entertainment and information for many years to come.
Do you want to start your own podcast AND make money? Watch my free webinar sharing the 10 Things You NEED To Know Before Starting Your Podcast.