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Could podcasting be 2023’s next post-pandemic tech casualty?


Podcasts could be the next lockdown tech success story to face a bumpy 2023, according to the latest data from podcast engine Listen Notes.

Listen Notes’ database of new podcasts reveals that in 2022, just 219,000 new podcasts were launched. This was significantly down on a 2021 figure of 729,000 new shows, itself a major drop from 1.109m new podcasts in 2020, at the peak of pandemic lockdown.

For perspective it should perhaps be noted that that peak pandemic figure represented an impressive tripling from the 337,099 new shows reported in 2019.

Listen Notes’ most recent figures showed that 14,192 new podcasts launched in January 2023, down from 23,991 in the same month last year.

The fall in the number of new podcasts launching follows on from a 2022 report, The Infinite Dial 2022, by Edison Research, Wondery and ART19, which suggested that listener numbers were also on a downward trajectory following a solid eight years of steady growth in the annual report – just 38 per cent of those Edison quizzed last year had listened to a podcast in the last month, compared to 41 per cent in 2021.

We probably shouldn’t write the podcast industry off just yet however. Listen Notes’s database suggests that there are 3,029,740 podcasts that meet its rigorous quality and length criteria currently broadcasting in the world, accounting for 155,844,854 episodes as of January 2023.

The UK podcasting industry, meanwhile, was estimated to have an ad revenue value of close to £40m in late 2022 by consultancy PWC, who also predicted growth to £64m by 2025, dwarfing the £4m the industry amassed in 2016.

Reuters also reported in its 2022 Study of Journalism that 80 per cent of publishers surveyed will be putting more resources into podcasts and digital audio moving forward.

Nonetheless, in common with other benificiaries of our online existence during lockdowns, such as etailers and streaming sites, it does appear that the podcasting sector could be in the process of witnessing something of a correction following the pandemic boom as our daily lives return to normal.

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