Brits Love Podcasts, Says Ofcom Analysis

By Tom Pritchard on at

Someone was told me that podcasts were a dying media, and that there was no reason why anyone would want to launch one. Clearly they were wrong, because Ofcom has found that the number of podcast listeners in the UK is double what it was five years ago. That means almost 6 million adults listen to them each week.

The analysis itself was collected from a range of sources including Rajar, ACast and TouchPoints, and found that 5.9 million adults are podcast people. While that's only 11 per cent of adults over the age of 15, it's a big leap compared to the 3.2 million (7 per cent) in the same situation back in 2013. Apparently there's been growth across all age groups, but unsurprisingly the largest rise has been with 15-24 year olds - 18.7 per cent of them listen to podcasts every week.

Clearly they're not quite as dedicated to old-fashioned things like radio as their elder peers, with 49 per cent of podcast listeners falling under the age of 35. For comparison only 29 per cent of radio people are under that age. That said, radio isn't as unpopular as those figures suggest. 96 per cent of podcast listeners tune into traditional radio broadcasts every week. But the radio takes up less of their listening time, with just 48 per cent of podcast people compared to 75 per cent of other adults.

Ofcom found that comedy is the most popular podcast genre, followed by music, film, and TV. Listeners also get their podcast from a wide range of sources including the BBC (36 per cent), YouTube (26%), and iTunes (25%). Other lesser sources included Spotify and newspapers' own websites. Ofcom also found that traditional broadcasters are embracing the medium, particularly as a companion to existing programming.

Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence, said:

“Podcasts are booming in the UK, and broadening people’s listening habits. Every age group is getting involved, but the most explosive growth is among younger adults.

“People are using podcasts to complement traditional radio, and we’re encouraged to see broadcasters embracing the medium and seeing it as an opportunity for growth.”