Welcome to episode 41 of the Richard Dally podcast where I bring you a UK perspective on the latest news and developments from the world of podcasting and Internet Radio.
This week the podcast ecosystem hits the 800,000 mark, well-known podcaster Daniel J. Lewis launches a podcast statistics service, the news category expands quickly along with the rise of the daily news podcast, a bedroom DJ wins a slot on Radio 1 and the average length of podcasts is getting shorter.
Websites and articles mentioned in the show:
Daniel J. Lewis launches new Podcast Industry Statistics – https://mypodcastreviews.com/podcast-industry-statistics/
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism – Daily news podcasts punching above their weight but may struggle to reach mainstream audiences – https://podnews.net/press-release/reuters-institute-news-podcasts
Cornwall DJ who started in his bedroom to host Radio 1 breakfast show – https://www.cornwalllive.com/whats-on/music-nightlife/cornwall-dj-who-started-bedroom-3616039
Podcast episodes got shorter in 2019 – https://rainnews.com/podcast-episodes-got-shorter-in-2019/
Apple TV+ drama dives into murky world of true-crime podcasts – https://www.france24.com/en/20191204-apple-tv-drama-dives-into-murky-world-of-true-crime-podcasts
Welcome to episode 41. I’m your host Richard Dally. Each week I curate and discuss the latest news in podcasting and Internet Radio with a focus on the smaller podcaster, radio host and DJ.
There are now more than 800,000 podcasts available in Apple Podcasts. Daniel J. Lewis, who runs the My Podcast Reviews service has created a new webpage to track the growth of the podcast industry.
The statistics page displays a running count of the total number of valid podcasts, as well as the total number of available episodes, which is currently more than 27.6 million. It also shows the number of podcasts added and removed from Apple Podcasts each day.
One interesting stat that Daniel is tracking is the number of active podcasts. This is an area that is discussed a lot. With it being so easy to start a podcast, using services such as Anchor, many people are trying it out and giving up after recording one or just a few episodes.
Along with other stats, Daniel’s page shows a pie chart comparing active versus inactive podcasts. He defines “active” as any podcast that has published at least one episode in the last 90 days.
As Daniel notes “Inactive” of course doesn’t mean those shows are dead or podfaded as it will include shows that have come to an end naturally, are between seasons or, ahem, and I quote: “have an infrequent publishing schedule”.
You can find all this this at MyPodcastReviews.com/stats
Daniel is also launching the Podcast Industry Data Concierge Service. This aims to provide, for a fee, more custom data on the podcast industry by interrogating the data his team is collecting from Apple, such as a list of podcasts in a specific category with more than a certain number of reviews.
This is of possible interest to bigger podcasters but more likely advertisers and others in the industry.
You’ll find a link to these new services in the show notes at richarddally.com/41.
It reminds me that I really should re-vitalise my own podcasting statistics page.
As someone who publishes his own news podcast, it is naturally an area of podcasting that I like to keep a close eye on. One of the growing trends in the space is the daily news podcast and I have always wondered about how sustainable they are. Questions like, can they can enough audience to be made profitable. Now I don’t mean mine – I have no intention of monetizing this podcast directly – even if I did manage to grow it to a reasonable size. I’m really thinking of general news podcasts.
A new study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism seem to reach the same conclusion. They say that number of podcasts in the news category increased by 32% between January and October 2019 – now get this – that means almost 12,000 new podcasts in 9 months!
Now of course the news category is quite broad and podcasts are self-categorised by the podcaster.
The report focuses on daily news podcasts. They identified about 60 daily news podcasts in the US, UK, Australia, France and Sweden, most of which have launched in the last 18 months.
It’s clear that the producers of these podcasts are putting a lot of money into them. Companies like the Guardian, The Economist and the New York Times have teams of people dedicated to creating these shows. The report says the New York Times has about 15 people dedicated to making The Daily and The Guardian’s Today in Focus employs 10. Must be nice!
So what do the economics of these podcasts look like? Well I think this a bit less clear. It’s a very competitive market where I think there is a lack of differentiation – I suspect these shows are a long way off making a profit from the advertising they can attract. I’m sure we will see some contraction in the number of shows eventually.
Do seek out more on the report. There are some interesting details on different categories and number of news podcasts – basically categorised by length – not much different from how we might categorise broadcast news shows on TV and Radio. Apparently, this podcast would fit into the “News round-up” category.
To show there is hope for all of us, here’s a feel-good story from a bedroom DJ. Gabriel Green from Cornwall has got a job as a Radio 1 DJ on the Early Breakfast Show on New Year’s Eve this year.
BBC Radio 1 recently ran a competition where new DJs and Presenters could win a chance to host a show on the station. Some 35 presenters have been chosen out of about 1000 entrants and they will be covering for all kinds of show over the Christmas and New Year period.
The competition was aimed at anyone with some previous radio experience. That experience could be in community, hospital, student or local radio and quite a few entrants apparently came, like Gabriel from an internet radio background. Gabriel got his start in radio launching a station for his school.
What a great idea for finding new talent for the BBC! Let’s hope they run this type of competition again soon.
Something that James Cridland predicted for 2019 was that the average length of podcast episodes would get shorter. Rain News reports this week that James has been proved correct. In an in-depth guest piece for them, Dan Misener, the Head of Strategy and Audience Development at Pacific Content shows his analysis of nearly 19 million podcast episodes to work out the average length of a podcast episode.
Dan found that the average episode length was 41 minutes and 31 seconds. This figure was almost two minutes shorter than average length when he did the same calculation last year.
The article takes this into much more depth, including excluding some outliers, and then looks out how the average length has changed since 2005. The graphs Dan presents show some interesting spikes in average length which he attributes to a small number of podcasts with large numbers of short episodes being removed from Apple Podcasts.
He also looks at average length by category, with gaming, wrestling and music-related podcasts being amongst the longest. The shortest podcast episodes tend to be in the business, education and children-focused categories. Very interesting!
Finally, this week, there have been a few podcasts that have been made into TV shows of course but now Apple TV + has created a new fictional drama called “Truth Be Told” which is centred around a true-crime podcast which is investigating the case of a teenager convicted of murder. “Truth Be Told” is based on a novel, “Are You Sleeping?” by Kathleen Barber.
If you’ve seen the show, let me know what you think.