There are 424 million podcast listeners worldwide

Globally there are 424 million podcast listeners worldwide, making up one-fifth of all internet users. Podcast growth is expected to continue. By 2024 there are expected to be 504 million podcast listeners worldwide, making up 23.5% of all internet users.

Source: eMarketer

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April 4, 2022 4:00 pm

In Kenya I feel that very few people would choose podcasts over the radio. I know the radio shows that suits my needs, types of music or topics discussed and my favourite radio presenters. I’ll tune in to listen when their shows are on air. Furthermore, radio is free to listen to and with my phone and laptop, I can save any media I would want to hear later. I have like 2-3 podcasts that I really love to listen to, but the cost of data bundles won’t allow me to listen to the podcasts daily.

Podcasts in Kenya are rising in popularity, with entertainment podcasts gaining more momentum over the other types. Media celebrities and other entertainers easily find constant listeners because their target audience spends most of their time online. Relationship advice and health & fitness-related podcasts are also getting more listeners. Since the internet is slowly becoming more affordable I assume that it’s only a matter of time that regular podcast listeners will increase.

Taabia Ahmed
April 4, 2022 9:38 pm

Podcasts here are uncommon. We have cheap and accessible internet access but still you won’t find people listening to podcasts that much. We have a few local content makers but the number of listeners is limited. The reason I believe for lack of podcast listeners is the attachment to traditional radio stations. In other parts of world where people are moving from radio to “online radio” i.e. podcast, Pakistanis are tuning into radio more to listen to their favorite RJs and shows. Our radio industry is definitely good at engaging listeners.

Some notable podcasts hosted and curated by Pakistani people that I have listened to are: How to Pakistan, Sami Says, Building Pakistan with Benje Williams, Pak-Cord and Random Bakwaas. I’ve noticed some YouTubers making videos in the format of podcasts and also labelling them same. I’ve also watched podcasts (or vidcasts – if that’s a word) by Junaid Akram. Personally I like his communication skills in delivering important messages with facts and background knowledge.

Another media type listened here falls under category of religious sermons. Famous and influential religious scholars deliver “bayans” or sermons guiding and preaching to the people. They are available for download as mp3 files which people listen to on the go.

April 5, 2022 8:38 pm

Podcasts are an absolute necessity for me. In analysing the popularity of podcasts, you would be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much difference between podcasts and radio shows. On the face of it, they are one and the same. Podcast popularity has arisen due to the same reasons YouTube channels have become so popular. For one, you have entertainment on demand. Listen to your podcast when and where you want. Gone are the days of waiting for your favorite program to air and being frustrated when you missed it. The second reason comes down to the ‘democratization of the internet’ concept. In the past, radio and video was a closed circle to a small number of entertainers. That structure is long gone. Now anyone can start a podcast. A microphone and internet connection is all you need, and you can have millions of listeners as you broadcast from your own bedroom.

The result of this ‘democratization’ is that you can listen to podcasts about anything. Think of the most niche topic and there’ll be a good chance someone talks about it. Another reason it’s growing so much in the US and other western countries is because it’s becoming a part of our everyday culture or routine. Frequently I’ve been asked what podcasts I listen to when I go for a walk or a run. That’s before I have told others I listen to podcasts. It’s becoming an assumption that we generally listen to podcasts.

In my case it’s true. I can’t sleep without a podcast playing. The sound of a conversation is a necessity now. Without it, it doesn’t feel right. The same goes for exercise. If I don’t have a conversation to follow along with while I’m working out, it all feels a bit flat. The lowest rates of podcast penetration are in Asia – countries like China, Japan and South Korea. What this means is enormous potential for growth. Although only 8.7% of China’s internet users listen to podcasts, the proportion is growing.

I have found that watching Netflix films and documentaries from different countries helps me learn more about foreign cultures and societies. It’s a great way to get insight into some of their issues. Squid Game is a good example of how a foreign series was able to portray the problems and opportunities of Korea’s hypercompetitive society. I think there is great potential for podcasts to do this as well. As listeners increase in countries like China, Japan and South Korea, there will be a concomitant rise in podcast shows. Those that are translated/dubbed will offer some very interesting insights into the culture and societies of other countries.