Publishers overcame a dip and brought downloads back into the growth zone last week. According to Podtrac, among the publishers it measures, downloads were up 6% week-over-week. This is more than recovering from the 5% drop seen the previous week. Compared to a year ago, Podtrac reports that the total number of downloads increased by 48% for the corresponding period last year for shows measured by Podtrac.
With the Super Bowl hype gone, the Sports genre had the lowest numbers of all the major podcast categories. Podtrac says it was down 4% week over week. The good news for sports podcasters, however, is that the segment actually saw the best year-over-year growth, with downloads more than doubling (+102%) from 2021 levels.
The show category with the best week-over-week growth was History, with downloads of shows in this genre up 17%. News from Ukraine also helped push News podcasts up 10%. Other genres that saw increases included True Crime (+9%), Business (+4%), Society & Culture (+3), Comedy (+2%) and Religion & Spirituality (+2%). In addition to the decline for Sports, lower numbers were also recorded for the Arts (-3%) and Science (-3%) genres.
Podtrac earlier reported that iHeartRadio was its top publisher in January, as it surpassed 400 million downloads for the first time. This marked 16 consecutive months that it led the publisher rankings as measured by Podtrac. NPR continued to hold second place, followed by Wondery, The New York Times and NBC News.
Overall, Podtrac reported that the average publisher it measures saw a 2% month-over-month increase in its unique monthly viewership in the US in January. And year-over-year, January 2022 unique reach for the top 20 publishers was up 1% from January 2021.
In terms of downloads, Podtrac said global downloads for the top 20 publishers overall were up 5% month-over-month in January. They also increased by 17% with the number of downloads from a year earlier.