The number of podcasts produced has rocketed 129,000% in the last ten years, while episode lengths are shortening, according to a new report from podcast app Stitcher.

And, while for some Americans the podcast habit was broken during the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, those listeners have not been lost for good, it seems. People find new routines and have replaced commute listening times with other listening slots during their day. Stitcher found listening numbers were returning to pre-pandemic levels by the beginning of April.

The report, which looked at the podcast sector over the last decade, found creators had published seven million episodes on the platform in 2019, compared to 350,000 in 2010.

It also identified those states where podcast listening was most popular, comparing listening hours with population size – Washington state for, example, is ranked #4 in terms of listening hours, but only #13 in size of population.

Streaming is still the most popular way of listening to podcasts, with only one-third of broadcasts being downloaded. And the rise of the mini-series (any show with two to 12 episodes) has grown from just four, 10 years ago, to 52,000 now.

True crime is the most popular genre, with content based on history, legends, and “behind-the-curtain truths” also in demand.

Gen X, those aged between 18 and 34, make up the biggest podcast audience based on listening hours and the number of shows they have added to their favourites.

Stitcher further found that peak listening times were weekday mornings and late afternoons, underlining the importance of the commute for podcasts.

“This industry has changed a lot over the past decade,” Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn told the Hollywood Reporter. “The types of shows, the number of creators, the monetization, everything’s changed very dramatically in the past few years.”

He added that mini-series tend to have an enduring popularity partly because they tell timeless stories. “It’s a story that you could listen to five years, ten years later, and it’s still an interesting story,” he said.

Series lengths are tending to get shorter, as well as episode length. The average episode length per show dropped from almost 52 minutes in 2013, to a little under 50 minutes in 2019.

Binge listening, though is still popular. In 2019, bingeing on Stitcher grew to 34 million hours, which was put down to the popularity of true crime and comedy content. The top three shows for binge listening last year were “True Crime Garage”, “Last Podcast on the Left” and “My Favorite Murder”.

Sourced from Medium, Hollywood Reporter