30 September 2021

Celebrating International Podcast Day 2021

Today is International Podcast Day 2021, an event aimed at celebrating the power of podcasts worldwide.

The event began in the US on this day in 2014 as National Podcast Day – its organisers say the date was chosen as that was the tenth anniversary of the release of the first podcast.

Since then the day has become international, as people across the globe recognise the power of podcasts to inform, entertain, and provide a platform for those who want to share their interests.

The popularity of podcasts is reflected in Ofcom’s research, with our data showing that 15% of adults in the UK listen to podcasts every week. Listening is highest among people aged 15 to 34, with more than a quarter of this age group doing so – and popularity is higher among men and people in higher socioeconomic groups.

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns had an effect on podcast listening, however. Before the first lockdown in early 2020, there were signs that podcasts were increasing in popularity among people of all ages and backgrounds.

But lockdown meant people were less able to commute or go to the gym, and with two in five people saying that’s when and where they listened to their podcasts, this meant there was a dip in listening and uptake.

When it comes to platforms, our research suggests Spotify and BBC Sounds are the most popular with UK listeners, each used by around two-fifths of people to access podcasts. However, there’s an age difference between the two, with Spotify used by younger age groups and use of BBC Sounds increasing with age.

The most common activities people say they soundtrack with a podcast were driving, relaxing at home, and doing housework or gardening.

And it looks like podcast fans are also fond of a laugh – comedy was the favourite category cited by people who responded to our research, followed by football and true crime.

If you’re a keen podcast listener, or if you’re interested in exploring them for the first time, get involved with the discussion on social using #internationalpodcastday.

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