True crime is the most typical matter; 15% of the highest podcasts deal with information
This research takes an in depth take a look at key traits of top-ranked podcasts. It’s a continuation of labor that Pew Analysis Heart has achieved analyzing podcasts as part of the information and knowledge panorama within the U.S.
This evaluation examines 451 top-ranked podcasts. Researchers recognized these high podcasts by analyzing every day lists of the highest 200 podcasts on Apple Podcasts and Spotify from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2022 (chart information offered 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. Extra information on episode size and frequency was analyzed after gathering information on all episodes printed in 2022 by the Spotify and Apple Podcasts APIs.
Listed here are the detailed tables for this report, and the methodology.
Pew Analysis Heart is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its main funder. That is the most recent report in Pew Analysis Heart’s ongoing investigation of the state of stories, data and journalism within the digital age, a analysis program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with beneficiant assist 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 protecting a variety of matters each well-liked and area of interest.
A brand new Pew Analysis Heart research of 451 of the top-ranked podcasts in america exhibits this variety 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 reputation of Serial. The following most typical matters are politics and authorities (10%); leisure, popular culture and the humanities (9%); and self-help and relationships (8%).
There are additionally a variety of podcasts that don’t match into any of those matters (12%), reminiscent of fictional radio tales and groups of individuals taking part in the role-playing recreation Dungeons & Dragons.
One-fifth of those high podcasts – that are these with the best common every day rankings on Apple’s and Spotify’s lists of high podcasts in a six-month interval in 2022 – focus on a number of matters. Many of those podcasts are like speak exhibits, with the dialogue flowing throughout matters.
The listing of high podcasts typically displays the pursuits of U.S. listeners. Among the many 49% of U.S. adults who stated in a 2022 Heart survey that they listened to a podcast within the final 12 months, leisure, politics, historical past and true crime had been all among the many most typical matters 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 every day high charts on Apple Podcasts and Spotify from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2022, (chart information offered by Podchaser, Inc.). Though precisely how every web site compiles its listing will not be public data, it’s assumed to broadly mirror the location’s hottest podcasts, maybe together with another podcasts the location sees as being buzzworthy. For every podcast, researchers calculated the common 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 stories within the podcast universe, researchers additionally checked out how lots of the top-ranked podcasts are centered 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 straight linked to radio exhibits.
Throughout matters, 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 information and different matters. 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, reminiscent of NPR, The Wall Road Journal or The Ringer. About half (51%) are affiliated with another form of group, reminiscent of Wondery or iHeartRadio, and 31% of high podcasts haven’t any affiliation (i.e., they’re impartial).
Present occasions possible come up on podcasts extra steadily than these figures might counsel. Two-thirds of U.S. podcast listeners say information is mentioned on the podcasts they hearken to, in response to a current Heart 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 matters in passing, even when they don’t deal with information completely. This evaluation didn’t seize the sort of information reference.
Podcasts are sometimes seen as a comparatively simple approach for anybody to inform a narrative. However truly getting an viewers for that storytelling is harder, 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 an internet 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 participating expertise for viewers. And eight% have a dialogue discussion board or Discord server, to straight have interaction with their followers or enable followers to attach with one another.
We studied 451 podcasts that had the best common every day rating on Apple and Spotify from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2022. This new report builds on the Heart’s current 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 elevated steadily since 2013. In 2014, the well-liked true crime podcast Serial was launched, changing into the quickest podcast to succeed in 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 unique cope with The Joe Rogan Expertise in 2020.
In a current survey, Pew Analysis Heart discovered that 49% of U.S. adults have listened to a podcast prior to now 12 months. Nonetheless, 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 material.
This report is the most recent from the Heart’s ongoing analysis into podcasts. Earlier stories lined how Individuals have interaction with podcasts, which podcasts they hearken to most, and the variations 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 based mostly round commentary.
- True crime podcasts are inclined to characteristic deep reporting, whereas different matters 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 an extra 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 usually lower than an hour lengthy. For six-in-ten high podcasts, the common episode size in 2022 was lower than 50 minutes.
- Many top-ranked podcasts flip to their audiences for monetary assist. Round half of high podcasts (47%) ask for viewers assist by choices reminiscent of subscriptions, donations or merchandise on the market. The Heart’s current survey of U.S. podcast listeners discovered that 13% have paid for a podcast subscription and 12% have purchased merchandise.