How Podcasting Has Grown | A Five Year Industry Review

Podcasts have rapidly grown in popularity over the past 5 years, becoming a mainstream medium for entertainment, education, and information. With LaunchPod Media nearing it’s 5th year in podcasting, we wanted to review the growth of the podcast industry in the past 5 years and its impact on media consumption.

According to Edison Research, the percentage of Americans who listen to podcasts has steadily increased over the past 5 years. In 2016, only 21% of Americans reported listening to podcasts monthly. By 2021, that number had grown to 41%. This growth has been driven by a variety of factors, including the increase in smartphone adoption, the rise of streaming platforms, and the proliferation of quality content.

One of the biggest drivers of podcast growth has been the increased accessibility of the medium. With the rise of smartphones and streaming platforms, podcasts have become easier to access and consume than ever before. Listeners can now access thousands of podcasts from anywhere, at any time, with just a few clicks. Moreover, with Apple including the podcast app already downloaded to new devices the medium began to gain more attention.

Contributing to the growth of podcasts has also been the rise of quality content. In the past, podcasts were often associated with amateur production values and low-quality content. However, in recent years, podcasts have attracted more high-profile creators, leading to a surge in quality content across a range of genres. From true crime to comedy to business, there is now a podcast for every interest. In addition, many companies, news agencies, and professionals in their sphere have begun to flock to the platform. That platform with the highest consumption rate and longest play time. 

One of the most significant developments in the podcast industry over the past 5 years has been the rise of podcast networks. These networks bring together multiple podcasts under one umbrella, allowing for cross-promotion and audience sharing. Look on Apple podcasts or Spotify to see provider pages and high end networks with a variety of shows. This has also allowed smaller, independent podcasts to reach larger audiences, while also providing established podcasts with new opportunities to grow. 

At LPM. we have focused on both ends of this spectrum. Being podcasters ourselves, we know the hard work of recording, editing, optimizing, and sharing personal content. We also know have worked with a number of businesses and networks to expand their reach and authority and can say with a high degree of certainty that the proliferation of content has indeed moved the industry forward. 

The growth of podcast networks has also led to increased investment in the industry. In recent years, major media companies have acquired podcast networks and invested in creating their own podcasts. For example, in 2019, Spotify acquired podcast network Gimlet Media, and later that year, it also acquired Anchor, a podcast creation and distribution platform. This investment has fueled the growth of the industry, creating new opportunities for creators and listeners alike.

Another key factor contributing to the growth of podcasts has been the rise of true crime podcasts. True crime has become a massively popular genre in recent years, with podcasts like Serial and Morbid attracting millions of listeners. This popularity has led to a proliferation of true crime podcasts, with new shows launching every month.

The growth of podcasts has also had a significant impact on advertising. With the rise of targeted advertising, podcasts have become an attractive platform for advertisers looking to reach specific audiences. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), podcast advertising revenue in the US is expected to reach $1.13 billion in 2021, up from $708 million in 2019. With numbers breaking 14 billion in 2022.

The growth of podcast advertising has been driven by the medium's unique strengths. Unlike other forms of advertising, podcast advertising allows for highly targeted messaging, as advertisers can choose to advertise on podcasts that are relevant to their target audience. Additionally, podcast advertising is often delivered through host-read ads, which are more personal and engaging than traditional ads. It has been a major push of LPM’s in the past 3 years to double down on this targeted approach and to attract the targeted audience for this medium. 

The growth of podcasts has also had an impact on traditional media. With the rise of podcasts, traditional media outlets like newspapers and magazines have begun investing in podcasting as a way to reach new audiences. This has led to the creation of new podcast networks and the acquisition of existing networks by traditional media companies.

Overall, the growth of the podcast industry over the past 5 years has been nothing short of remarkable. With increasing accessibility, rising quality content, and a surge in investment, podcasts have become a mainstream medium for entertainment, education, and information. As we look to the future, it's clear that podcasts will continue to play an increasingly important role in media consumption. As we look to the future, it's clear that podcasts will continue to play an increasingly important role in media consumption, and we can expect to see further growth in the industry.

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