21% of the UK population listens to podcasts every week, up from 10% in 2017, but will this rate of growth continue?
On the one hand, the UK still falls way short of countries like Spain 39%, Ireland 37% and USA 35%. The profile is young, and platforms such as Apple and Spotify have made them more easily accessible.
Albeit more accessible, the number of podcasts being produced has fallen dramatically since its peak during the pandemic. The major issues are discoverability, the ability to find the right podcast in a crowded market, and commerciality, the funding of production through either subscription or advertising, (UK podcast Ad spend is around £50m annually).
Overall, I expect to see continued growth over the next two years, driven by fewer, but better-quality professional podcasts. This in turn, will attract the subscription / advertising £ and the upward spiral continues.
However, as podcasts become more prominent in the media mix, then effectiveness will get greater scrutiny, so a word of warning, the paid for communications need to be carefully curated, to be ad-load efficient, not too intrusive, but equally (with regards to in-reads) believable and not overly condescending, if this happens then long live the podcast.