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The rise and rise of podcasts

Updated: Apr 21

Around 7.1 million people in the UK now listen to podcasts each week. That’s one in eight people and is an increase of 24% over the past year. OFCOM research also found that half of these listeners came to podcasts in the last two years.



Three quarters of people surveyed for Ofcom's Media Nations 2019 report said they’d listened to a podcast of a BBC radio programme, the highest of any type of podcast.


Ofcom also collected data from a range of sources, including RAJAR, Chartable and the BBC. Findings include:


  • Entertainment is the most popular podcast genre, followed by comedy, then discussion and talk shows

  • Half of those surveyed had been listening to podcasts for less than two years

  • Podcasts are helping listeners to discover new radio programmes

  • On average, regular podcast users listen to around seven podcasts each week

  • 22% of people who own a smart speaker use them to listen to podcasts



Around nine in ten people in the UK continue to listen to live radio every week, and many are combining this with podcast listening.


Podcasts are transforming the ways people listen to audio content, just as on-demand video is changing how people watch television. It's fantastic to see how UK radio broadcasters as well as newspapers and other media companies are embracing podcasting and offering more choice about what we listen to than we’ve ever had before.

Ian Macrae, Ofcom's Director of Market Intelligence


(We'll use this page to publish more stats, figures and insights into the rise of podcasting as we see them).

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