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  • Olly Hutson

Why Podcasting Survived and Thrived in a Post-Pandemic 2022

2022 has proven that podcasts are resilient and adaptable. Whilst growth was predictable and expected throughout covid, this year, a dip in listenership and production seemed inevitable, especially with a recession looming. However, we continue to see the podcast industry grow and diversify, with 2022 seeing Australia overtake the US as the most advanced podcast market in the world with 78% of Australians listening to podcasts monthly. (The Infinite Dial 22). Why is this? What trends have driven consumption this year? How has Spotify taken the crown as the top streaming service? Read on to find out, plus our predictions for 2023.


Entertainment over Information

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After a tough couple of years filled with lockdowns and covid upheavals, 2022 saw listeners turning to lighter subject matter, with more podcast episodes being released between June and August 22 using words like “love”, “marriage” and “summer” in their titles when compared to the previous two years (Acast). In 2020 we were much more caught up in serious talk of Covid-19, important stories around the Black Lives Matter movement, and general business news as the world was turned upside down. 2021 was much of the same, with words like “Covid”, “Black Lives Matter”, “The Future” and “Business” trending in podcast episode titles. Proving how diverse the podcast genre can be, the entertaining aspect of podcasts can be as compelling as the medium's ability to educate and inform.


Niching Down

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As the volume of podcasts available continues to expand, subject matter becomes more diversified and niche. Some podcast hosts have even started second podcasts to focus in on particular areas of interest that have emerged from their first venture. This means that more specific audiences are targeted, with a deeper level of interest as the subject matter is highly interesting and relevant for them. For example, podcast founder and host Lauren Shippen started a show called “The Bright Sessions,” a science fiction podcast that follows a group of supernatural therapy patients. Going even deeper into a particular element of the show, she also created Dashboard Diaries, which explores all things Tumblr. Niching down of podcasts helps both retain existing listeners and attract new ones to the medium.


Spotify Goes Premium in 2022

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After increased competition in the streaming market, Spotify has solidified its position as the #1 audio network in 2022. Despite predictions that entertainment subscriptions were in for a rough ride in 2022 due to macroeconomic pressures,

in Q3 2022, Spotify added 7 million net Premium subscribers to its user base, taking its total global paying subs audience to 195 million.

Ad revenues were up by +3% YoY at constant currency in the quarter – an increase that Spotify said was “led by podcasting” (Music Business Worldwide).

Spotify also noted that podcast consumption rates “grew in the double digits” YoY and “podcast share of overall consumption hours reached an all-time high” (Forbes). Part of this success was due to securing exclusive podcast content. Notable successful launches from Spotify this year include Meghan Markle’s Archetypes, which reached #1 in the podcast charts in more than six countries and the growth of Aussie larrikins The Uninspired Unemployed, which was consistently in the top 10 most listened to podcast charts all year.

Additionally, Spotify acquired Podsights (a leading podcast advertising measurement service) this year and launched a new platform bundle for Megaphone podcast publishers, offering free access to both Podsights and Chartable.


Podcast Ads Expand


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In Q3 2022, ARN’S iHeart reported that spending on Australian podcast advertising had grown by 33% year on year. Advertising spend across the TV & Film podcast category grew the most rapidly by 285% from this time last year. Other podcast genres to exponentially grow in investment year on year were History (up 115%), True Crime (up 91%), and Sports (up 62%) (Radio Today).

The top advertisers in podcasting for AU were reported to be Amazon, McDonalds, Calm and Airbnb.

Why are top Australian companies choosing to advertise on podcasts and why are we seeing such strong growth figures in a year when most of the world has gone back to work and has less time for entertainment? Listeners tend to pay more attention to, remember, and consider the brands mentioned in podcasts. They also pay more attention to ads that run on podcasts compared to other places (like TV, social media, etc.). Research from Spotify shows that 4 in 5 listeners have taken action after hearing audio ads during a podcast (Spotify).


What’s next for 2023?


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The audio landscape in Australia has grown exponentially over the last few years and 2023 should be no different. There are more audio publishers and content than ever before.

As a result of these new audio services and the increase in opportunities, the PwC Entertainment and Media Outlook Report 2021-2025 has estimated that the Australian streaming audio and podcast ad market was worth $599 million in 2020 and forecasts that the sector will experience a very healthy CAGR of 12% between 2019 and 2025, to reach $921 million in 2025 (IAB Audio Buyer’s Guide 22).

Put simply, the podcast industry shows no signs of slowing down in its production of quality content, appeal to listeners and effective advertising campaigns.


The future of podcasting is lively and filled with innovation and potential. 2022 should have been a slow year for the industry, with rising interest rates meaning tightened budgets and a majority of the population returning to the office in some capacity, meaning less time for entertainment. However, podcasts have evolved to become hubs for global conversations on many varied issues with voices spanning to all corners of the world and across all social groups. It’s through those conversations that we can keep up that feeling of connectedness and belonging, regardless of borders or boundaries, lockdowns or recession. We predict that 2023 will be the biggest year yet for podcasting, as innovation and more data allows us to get further insights on the attention sweet spot and how best to entertain and inform audiences, through both podcast content and ads.

For more analysis, insights, and commentary on the growing podcast industry, sign up to our bi-weekly newsletter or feel free to contact us anytime.

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