The Importance of Infrastructure when Podcasting Globally

Posted on Aug 30, 2022

If you look at the most prominent US media publishers today, audio strategy is now an essential part of their marketing and promotion plans. Now that podcasting has captured American media attention and funding, we can better understand how global performance impacts revenue streams.

US creators have contributed the most to the global library of English-language podcasts and led the world in monthly podcast listenership. While the American podcast market is undoubtedly the most mature regarding audience reach and revenue, experts predict audience growth will likely flatten out. Still, non-US markets will probably see fast growth, witnessing a trajectory similar to when US audiences began to adopt podcasts into their lives during the last five years.

What's the global appetite for podcast listening?

According to an eMarketer study released in October 2021 and shared by Statista, since 2019, podcast listeners have nearly doubled in size worldwide. Market researchers forecast even more of that growth by 2024.

  • 2019: 274.8 million monthly podcast listeners worldwide
  • 2022: 424.2 million monthly podcast listeners worldwide
  • 2024: predicted 504.9 million monthly podcast listeners worldwide

Back in October 2021, eMarketer's Ethan Cramer-Flood presented statistics showcasing how America compares to its global neighbors in terms of listeners. The data stated:

  • The United States has roughly 117.8 million monthly podcast listeners, or 40% of US monthly internet users

  • China has about 85.6 million monthly podcast listeners, at about 6% of China's total population

  • Europe has approximately 77.8 million monthly podcast listeners or roughly 17% of Europe's total population

  • Sweden, home of Spotify, has the most in Europe, with about 34.6% of monthly internet users listening to podcasts

  • That eMarketer report also showed that the most exciting fact about US podcast listeners is how its audience has taken to podcasts so quickly and with such voracity.

  • In 2015, 14.2% of America's population was predicted to listen to a podcast at least once a month.

  • In 2021, 35.2% of the US population listened to a podcast at least once a month, a 20% jump in five years.

  • With this large audience, experts predict that the impressive US audience growth and podcast adoption will slow down over the next few years. While this might seem negative at first glance, it also suggests that listenership will become much more mainstream.

The flourishing international audiences hold promise. For example, suppose US podcast publishers translate more of their existing shows into new languages and market them to the fast-growing audience of global listeners. In that case, it can open the door to significant growth opportunities.

So, which countries are listening to podcasts the most?

Western Europe

In Western Europe, Spain is the apparent leader in monthly podcast consumption from regular internet users. Studies attribute this Spanish podcast adoption to impressive digital distribution strategies done by Spain's biggest audio companies and many Spanish-language podcasts available from outside the country.

How prevalent are Spanish-language podcasts?

In 2020, The Bello Collective produced an interesting study on how the podcast "Radio Ambulante" found its way to success. The article details that legacy media companies did not initially appreciate the thought of a Spanish-language podcast. Flash forward ten years later, and those executives were very wrong. Consuming content across borders has become routine. Radio Ambulante is one of the most popular Spanish-language podcasts, with almost a million downloads each month and listeners consuming it worldwide.

Edison Research's 2021 US Latino Podcast Listener Report also substantiates this increasing market desire for Spanish-language offerings. Last year's report indicated that 33% of American Latinos said they had listened to a podcast, typically in Spanish, which was a significant increase from 24% in 2020.

Looking Forward

As companies and streamers look to increase profits, it's essential to look to overseas markets as sudden price increases to existing audiences can be off-putting to users. While there are many reasons someone might cancel their subscription, 49% of people said the most likely cause is increasing prices.

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism's digital survey looked at the percentage of monthly podcast listeners ages 18+ from more than twenty countries. When it comes to growth, these global stats are impressive.

English publishers who want to connect with non-US audiences and join in on the global podcast action should prioritize translating those evergreen episodes into several languages, particularly Spanish. Publishers such as Adonde Media, Wondery, and Sounds Profitable prioritize Spanish-language podcasts.

The global infrastructure for podcast growth is there. It's just about capitalizing on the current podcast market worldwide and making your streams available in several languages, especially those whose listeners seem to be steadily growing.

If you're looking to grow your podcast and improve deliverability to several countries, StreamGuys can help. Contact us with any questions so we can help your podcast grow and provide the latest technology to ensure high-quality streaming, no matter where people are listening to it.


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