1 April 2020

Now that many commuters are staying home, what does it means for podcast listening?

Two weeks ago, I shared this thought on Twitter:

I wonder how much of an impact will the confinement have on podcast listening numbers overall. In my case, I can’t find the right time to listen to them now that I work from home. The subway/walk was great for that.

This was March 18th, around the time I stopped taking the subway every day to go to work and started working from home instead. Then last week, Kali Hays on WWD published Coronavirus causes dip in podcast listening, featuring some very interesting numbers, but sadly for the month of March in its entirety, and only from the United States:

Downloads in the space overall have dropped about 10 percent since the start of March, according to data from Podtrac, which follows trends and usage in the space. Total unique listeners also dropped roughly 20 percent in the same time frame.

I expected these numbers to be more dramatic to be honest, but what really matters in this report is the time frame: since the start of March.” Since the first confinement policies only started late in March in the US, it either means this March report only could catch a glimpse of a bigger drop concentrated at the end of the month, or, like Joshua Benton said today on Twitter:

More evidence for my hunch: U.S. podcast listening is down 10% since the start of March, suggesting the loss of commute and gym listening is bigger than the gain in at-home listening.

It is possible home listening somehow compensated for the loss of commute listening a lot more than I thought, but I believe that if the time frame of this report was focused on the last week of March in the US, the drop would have been much more radical.

Now I can only wonder how much of a drop was measured in Europe during the same period.


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