Podcasts are one of the most popular ways for businesses and brands to get their content out in front of a large audience. Typically, please consist of video and digital audio files that are made available for download. Many of the biggest podcasts publishers also offer subscription services, which synchronizes the listener’s computer to the podcast platform.
With many people struggling to find time to sit down and read text-based content, podcast allow them to download and listen to content on the go. We’ve dug a little bit deeper into the biggest podcasts publishers in the world. Many of these are renowned and well-respected businesses and broadcasters who have moved into the world of digital downloads. So, who are the 10 biggest podcasts publishers of the year?
NPR, 128,872,000 global streams
National Public Radio produces podcasts covering arts, business, comedy, health, music, news and politics, science and medicine, technology, tv and film and read and listen. They had 128,872,000 global streams and downloads for the month of July, which is their average monthly count. To date, there are 42 different podcast shows available, making it the largest and most listened to publisher in the world.
The brand was founded in 1970 and currently has yearly revenue of $208,004,728 USD. Of this, $18.9 million is the net income. Audiences of almost 15 million are common with the Drive Time programs released each day. On average, approximately 21 million Americans tune in to the podcasts each week, with a further 12 million from around the world listening. It is by far the biggest podcast publisher in the world.
PRX, 47,234,000 global streams
The Public Radio Exchange is another popular podcast distributor. While they do not attract audiences as seen with NPR, they are the second largest in the world. The most popular podcast the run on a regular schedule are Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie, New Letters on the Air, Exploring Music, 12th Street Jump, A Way with Words, American Routes, Folk Alley HowSound, The Moth Radio Hour, To the Best of Our Knowledge and WTF with Marc Maron. The company was founded in 2003 and has built a loyal fan base from around the world. With just 38 employees, the podcaster earns approximately $9.1 million USD each year.
WNYC Studios, 30,634,000 global streams
New York Public Radio focuses on a broad range of topics. These include film, books, business, comedy, education, food, health, history, media, movies, music, news, politics, pop culture, science, sports, storytelling, technology and transportation. They reported a net asset balance of $97,272,624 for 2017 and have more than 30 million active downloads and streams each month. Of these, 25 million are from an international audience.
iHeartRadio,47,703,000 global streams
IHeartRadio was founded in 2008 becoming the third most popular podcast publisher of 2018. As one of the most popular radio stations in America, it has gained a global audience for its podcasts. These range from crime, politics, comedy, entertainment, sports and news. iHeartRadio is a Texan based radio and podcast distributor. With an estimated annual revenue of $376.9m and an estimated employee count of 1,585. When looking at the number of international streams and downloads, this comes to approximately 44 million worldwide users.
HowStuffWorks, 57,907,000 global streams
HowStuffWorks has one of the largest global audiences of all the podcast Publishers on this list. The podcast site “stuff you should know” covers a broad array of topics including nature, anthropology, archaeology, How stuff works, murder, physics, science, space and war. HowStuffWorks was founded in Atlanta in 1998 and has an estimated annual revenue of $10.1 million USD and an estimated employee count of 275. With one of the largest online streaming and download counts of 52 million monthly global downloads and over 5 million us downloads or streams, it also has one of the largest traffic counts to its podcast website.
New York Times, 38,757,000 global streams
The New York Times covers many different Avenues ranging from newsprint, broadcasting and podcasts. It is surprising that such a large and well-known brand has a relatively small audience for its podcasts. While nearly 39 million people tuning in monthly is impressive, it falls behind many of the other smaller podcast publishers on this list. However, the company has a combined annual revenue of $1.7 billion USD and an estimated employee count of 3790. Founded in New York, the USA in 1841, it is by far the oldest and most established name to feature here. The podcasts cover news, politics, sport, science and world affairs. Approximately 92% of the audience or international, making it one of the most listened to global podcast publishers.
This American Life, 20,045,000 global streams
This American Life is a podcast publisher and radio station that features some of the most popular serial programs released on a weekly schedule. The most popular is This American Life serial come out which focus is on one story. It is currently into its third season and helps the podcast publisher amass an annual revenue of $10 million USD. There is an estimated employee count of 10, making it one of the smallest podcast publishers to feature on this list. There are now more than 650 episodes to date. Broadcast online and on the air via PRX, ABC Radio Australia and CBC Radio 1. They currently have roughly 20 million Global listeners and 4,500,000 US listeners each month.
ESPN 44,240,000 global streams
ESPN is another well-known global brands to make this list. Focusing primarily on sporting events estimated, earnings from their podcasts further boost the combined annual revenue of $7.5 billion USD. To date, the business has a total value of $28 billion USD. It is estimated to have 8000 and was launched back in 1991. Some of the most popular shows include the Dan le batard show, fantasy Focus football, the Russillo show, Golic and Wingo show and ESPN FC. With 47 million global streams and 4700000 streams from listeners located in the United States, they are the largest sports-related podcast publisher in the world. Along with the podcast, they also have a hugely popular YouTube channel and a dedicated website.
Wondery, 28,002,000 global streams
Wondery is one of the youngest podcast Publishers to make this. With an annual revenue of less than $1 million, it also earns the least. However, its popularity is growing on a monthly basis with almost 29 million global downloads and streams and 4.2 million downloads and streams in the United States. It is estimated to have 100 employees. Launched in 2016 in California. Featuring a whole host of subjects and topics, including secrets, crimes and audiotape, sight unseen, I hate my boss, inside psycho, locked up abroad, tides of history and American history tellers.
Barstool Sports, 26,297,000 global streams
Barstool Sports has suffered its own fair share of controversy over the past few. However, this is not damaged its reputation and it currently has a net worth of over $100 million USD. It is estimated to have 100 employees and launched online in 2007 in Milton, Massachusetts. Barstool Sports is now owned by the Chernin Group who moved the HQ to New York and focused on improving the image of the brand. Programming is focused primarily on sports and places it second to ESPN. When looking at the monthly global downloads and streams, there are approximately 26. There are also a further 2.7 million U.S listeners.
Podcasts are a fantastic way for businesses to increase their audience by creating engaging content. One of the benefits of a podcast is that it can be downloaded onto portable devices, such as mobile phones and MP3 players and listened to wherever the user may be. Many of the most popular podcast focus on written content that has been turned into audio content. This makes it an attractive option for businesses to turn their written content into podcasts. With people appreciating the convenience and ease-of-use, podcasts are a fantastic way of boosting traffic to your website while putting out high-quality content that your audience will love.
*Data correct as of September 2018.