News & politics, along with specialist subjects like technology, are the most popular podcasts in North America, according to the latest data from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. However, overall penetration is low, with over two-thirds of adults (aged 18+) not listening to a podcast in the last month.

News & politics was the most popular genre in the United States, at 15.2% of respondents. However, specialist podcasts on topics like technology and business were most popular in Canada with 11.2% of adults listening. Across both countries, sports was the least popular genre. Overall, podcast penetration was greater in the United States, at 33.0%, compared to 27.9% in Canada.

Smartphone podcasts are an area of particularly strong growth in the US, with adoption rising 157% between 2014 and 2017.

Both countries have seen a rise in audio consumption in recent years, with the US growing by seven minutes and Canada by four minutes year-on-year. Podcast advertising revenue has also grown strongly in recent years, likely due to the personal voice and strong listener attachment they allow for.