Oh, and they're listening to a few of them, too!

Just quickly – want to read a more up-to-date version of this article which features stats from the summer 2022 Ofcom MIDAS report and a YouGov whitepaper?

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Four in every ten of your mates is enjoying some form of podcasting content.

It’s official! Podcasting in the UK is growing – with 41% of the UK now confirmed fans of the content. 

Large podcasts such as “Diary of a CEO“, “The High Performance” podcast and even Podknows Podcasting’s own podcasts “Making Conversations Count” and “Techcess” now attract more loyal listeners who love to listen to podcasts, regularly.

Let that 41% number sink in.

That’s not how many have listened ever.

That’s how many are following, downloading, and consistently listening to podcasts as part of their everyday routine.

The scene has come a long way in a short time.

UK podcasting is growing - Edison Research Infinite Dial graphic
Image: Edison Research "Infinite Dial"

The UK's podcasting scene has the potential to become the world's biggest

As someone who has been in it for two decades, I find this news exhilarating.

Only this year, in the summer, I was a judge at the 2021 British Podcast Awards.

It was a cracking event, with a lot of exceptional podcasting talent being recognised under a marquee in Brixton.

Although it was very professionally run, and a tremendous amount of fun, it still had an air of rebellion about it.

It felt like we were attending a SyFy channel version of the ARIAS.

And I absolutely don’t mean that in a negative way.

It reminded me of my old days of radio when the highlight of your year was attending a huge booze up at the offices of a London based PR company.

All the famous household radio presenters got the opportunity to let their hair down and be naughty because nobody in the wider media gave a crap about this stuff back then.

I can’t imagine what the newspapers would look like these days if they grabbed a pic of Amanda Holden air pianoing Aha’s “Take On Me” while guzzling prosecco and showing her boobs to a male member of a rival breakfast show team.

Alas, it wouldn’t have looked out of place at a classic ‘X Trax’ radio party, believe me.

Anyway, back to the point of this post.

podcasting in the UK is growing - Edison Research data
Image: Edison Research "Infinite Dial"

"Everyone has a podcast"

For the longest time, the narrative I’ve been fielding from resistant brands and business owners has been “everyone has a podcast” (not true – currently there are fewer than 350,000 active podcasts) and “there’s no point starting one because nobody is listening to podcasts…” (again, not true as the latest UK data from Edison Research proves – nearly half of us are!).

The podcasting scene in the UK continues to grow and it’s well on its way to becoming the most engaged English-speaking territory.

So again, it honestly warrants repeating because it’s such a staggering fact.

Almost half of Britain is now regularly consuming podcast content.

Think about that for a moment.

Half the people you know could be catching up with their favourite podcast at least once a month, if not more frequently.

Everyone listens to a podcast(?)

It used to be the data that radio brands would train their sales executives to use when selling advertising to business owners.

“Half of the county is listening to our breakfast show! Can you afford to not have your adverts played to them?” they’d excitedly proclaim.

Yesterday, the UK had its ‘breakthrough’ moment in podcasting.

It’s long been claimed that the UK is well behind the US in terms of podcasting’s hold in audio consumption.

Edison Research has been regularly updating the industry with its “Infinite Dial” report, which looked at US podcast listening habits specifically.

They released findings for the UK for the first time ever on December 2nd, 2021.

It was a monumental moment. I have a feeling I might have been the only person in the Zoom call to watch it unfold live, but that’s not entirely surprising given it was at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon.

The reason this is so exciting is that now, as an industry, the UK’s podcasters actually have some real data to go with.

Not a ‘vague idea’ based on data sets gathered from an entirely different country, with very different cultures and an absolutely different relationship with audio.

(Have you ever compared US morning radio with UK efforts?)

Key UK podcasting data

So, we learned that despite awareness of podcasting as an audio format still being slightly behind the US, actual listening is slightly ahead here.

And it’s on a trajectory to overtake the current leader in listening engagement for English speaking territories, Australia.

That fact alone should excite anyone who dreams about starting one or listening to them!

Some headline stats from Edison Research:

41% of the country listens to podcasts on a monthly basis,

25% listen weekly.

71% are aware of this format.

So there you have it.

Everyone has a podcast (only 350,000 of them actually) yet nobody is listening to them (28 million are)

You’ve got to love ‘marketing experts’, haven’t you?

Oh, and not to mention that 24 million people have around 10 podcasts ready to go in the library of their favourite podcast listening app.

Could yours be one of these?

UK podcasting is growing - Edison Research

Want to watch the data being revealed for yourself?