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People turning to podcasts for news and distraction


Podcast giant Acast today announces new listening figures from around the world after recording its biggest ever weekend for listens. The weekend of March 21-22 saw a 7% increase in listens globally, equivalent to more than 750,000 listens — suggesting that, with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, more people than ever before are turning to podcasts.

As Acast navigates how the current circumstances and societal shifts will translate into changes in listener behaviour, one thing is clear: podcasting is maintaining its popularity on a global scale.

With sporting events around the world being cancelled or postponed indefinitely, sport-related podcasts have clearly taken a hit. Listens to podcasts in Acast’s Sport and Recreation category over the weekend were down -2% globally, but as sport podcasts adapt their content and shape their podcasts in reaction, this is predicted to change soon.

While the number of listens to sport content was naturally lower in the circumstances, other genres saw significant spikes over the weekend — with Education, Entertainment, Science & Medicine, and Health all up more than 10% respectively.

Acast’s data also shows a continual increase in the number of podcasts covering the novel coronavirus (covid-19) — with more than 1,400 podcast episodes now hosted on its network since Jan 22. These episodes, which reference “corona” or “covid” in the episode title have been downloaded more than 27.5 million times globally to date.

And, with podcasts’ popularity continuing, Acast is seeing an influx of content overall, with creators turning to new means and ways of putting out episodes, such as remote recording or format changes.

Susie Warhurst, SVP of Content at Acast, said: “It’s incredibly heartening — but not surprising — to see podcasters adapting to these new challenges. Podcasting is a digital medium in almost every sense, so we have total flexibility to carry on putting out top quality shows no matter what.

“We’re also immensely proud to have just had our record weekend for listens across the Acast network, which suggests consumer appetite for podcasts is as healthy as ever — and that more people are turning to on-demand audio as they change their daily routines.”

Acast will be continuing to monitor and analyse changes and trends in listener data to ensure its creators and advertising partners stay one step ahead.


About Acast

Acast is the engine powering podcast creators, advertisers, and listeners everywhere. Its services are the most sophisticated available and are constantly being updated with innovative new tools and functionality.

Acast hosts more than 10,000 podcasts worldwide and monetizes the best shows around, including Watch What Crappens, Forever35, My Dad Wrote A Porno, and The Earios Network, and those from publishers such as VICE, HuffPost, Complex, The Guardian, BBC, and Scientific American.

Co-founded in Sweden in 2014 by Johan Billgren, Acast’s team of audio lovers is creating a sustainable and open podcast ecosystem — ensuring the whole industry continues to grow and flourish. The company has sales teams on the ground in 13 markets around the world, including the UK, US, Australia, France, and Germany.

This is a press release which we link to from our daily newsletter about podcasting and on-demand. This is reprinted verbatim; we may rewrite headlines and descriptions. Press releases can be sent to

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