As the podcast medium matures, publishers and marketers are learning about the role of short daily news briefings in building and maintaining audiences, research from the Reuters Institute finds.

While daily news makes up less than 1% of all content produced, it accounts for around 10% of all podcast downloads, and are a crucial way to attract new, younger audiences and getting them into the habit of loyalty, and shore up existing subscribers.

  • Younger audiences are up to four times more likely to listen. Daily podcasts are made with an eye on the next generation.
  • While podcast listening dropped early in the pandemic, daily news podcasts recovered far faster than other genres.
  • Advertising has also proved resilient. “There was an initial pausing and cancellation of campaigns,” says Joe Coperman, SVP Sales at Acast, a podcast hosting and monetisation company, “but we’re delighted how quickly advertisers came back.”

Exploring the role of the daily news podcast for publishers across the UK, US, Australia, France, Sweden, and Denmark, the report uncovers why they are bullish on the format, as pioneered by the New York Times’ The Daily, which rivals TV with its four million average daily listenership.  

Podcasts are not, however, easy to make. The NYT has 15 members of staff working full time on The Daily, while the Guardian and Economist’s offerings each have nine staffers. This reflects not only the strategic importance but also the buoyant podcast ad markets in the UK and US.

Meanwhile, non-English speaking markets, where the total addressable audience is limited by language, they are not as much a money maker as a way of showcasing the newsroom.

At Le Parisien, an internal study analysing the behaviour of their subscriber base has shown that “podcast listeners are three times more likely to remain subscribers”, says Pierre Chausse, Head of Digital at Le Parisien.

While they are extremely important for future growth, the report does acknowledge that for many publishers (especially those with origins in the written rather than spoken word), putting together a strong daily podcast required considerable investment, and a strong stomach to bet on the future.

Sourced from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism