The Myth of Peak Podcasting
The Growth of Podcasting
Online audio listenership continues to grow, up to an estimated 189 million people in the US listening to online audio in the past month.
Both the number of people familiar with podcasting and listening to podcasts continues its rapid ascent.
Given that the demand for podcasts continues to grow, the next question would be what does the podcast supply look like? Dave Zohrob, CEO of Podcast Analytics service Chartable, recently tweeted out that there are over 700,000 podcasts in the iTunes catalog:
As of today, there are over 700,000 podcasts in the iTunes catalog.— Dave Zohrob 📈 (@dzohrob) March 28, 2019
If you're thinking of starting a show, there's never been a better time.
While a large number of those are likely not active, that’s still a significant amount of media. Some are calling this “peak podcasting”, with the medium having become oversaturated. The argument is that there’s too much content for someone to navigate and discover. Correspondingly if you’re thinking of starting a podcast, don’t because your idea has likely already been done. — REWORK After all, how many podcasts can a single person listen to?
Before we answer that question, let’s pause for a moment and take a look at some other media in the landscape. I replied to Dave, pointing out how many blogs there are:
It’s interesting to me when people say we’re at peak podcast and I point out that there’s roughly 36 million blogs on the internet.— Griffin Caprio (@gcaprio) March 28, 2019
Little did I know that the 36 million number is actually woefully low:
A half a billion blogs. Yet, would anyone tell a business today they shouldn’t have a blog?
TV: When the modern ABC television network was founded in 1948, joining CBS & NBC, it added several hours of programming to the airwaves. You could argue that back then, there was already too much TV content for one person to consume. Yet, today there’s over 15,000 TV channels in the world including local broadcasts. That doesn’t include the growing list of streaming services that offer serial & episodic content, with more being added everyday.
Movies: Conservatively there have been over 500,000 movies made across Hollywood. If you add in foreign releases, that number balloons even further. Yet, as of publishing, IMDB expects there to be almost 4,100 movies released in 2019 alone.
That 23 million number also doesn’t include video uploaded to the service outside of a specific channel.
Peak TV, Peak Movies, Peak Podcasting, Oh My!
Two things should be clear from the trends above:
Between TV, movies and YouTube channels there is already too much content for a single person to watch, read and enjoy. That’s before you add in other forms of entertainment like books, video games and podcasting.
Despite the perceived saturation from a single persons POV, more and more content is added every day. There’s still plenty of room for new, innovative and engaging content to find an audience.