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Oct 6th 2023

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Podcasts Are No Longer Growing

Hosted by Lisa Laporte

Podcasts Are No Longer Growing

New episodes published every Friday.
Category: Help & How To

Last week, I mentioned that I will be covering more than podcast advertising and that TWiT has pivoted to a one-ad model because podcasts moved to this structure several years back, and we were trying to stay with what performs best for our partners. We finally caved as it became a constant struggle to explain why our approach was better and the one ad model is now in place. Today, I am going to cover the lack of growth in podcasting and how it impacts independent networks.

The American podcast market has reached maturity, and the number of Americans who listen to at least one podcast monthly is no longer increasing. In addition, there is a trend towards consolidation as Spotify, iHeart, etc. are buying and launching podcasts, while pushing for DAI on advertising is squeezing out independent networks.

According to Forbes iHeartMedia's CEO Bob Pittman stated, “We're in the consolidation phase. So, the top podcasters get bigger, and it becomes harder and more fragmented for the smaller players to catch up. And I think that's exactly what you've seen as a trend line." He points to Serial, once the industry darling acquired by the New York Times for $25 million, now more of a cautionary tale because it was not worth it.

Even Libysn's Rob Walch, who presented evidence at the 2023 Podcast Movement, showed the active podcasts with 10+ episodes on Apple have remained around 400,000 since 2021. Therefore, with all the new podcasts starting since 2021 and old podcasts closing down, the number of active pods with over 10 episodes has remained flat.

In addition to the lack of growth, podcast ad tech is becoming invasive, and brands want to put tracking pixels everywhere. Brands also demand cheap CPMs with ridiculously short cancellation clauses, and they have unrealistic conversion expectations because they do not understand how it works and agencies do not educate them. All agencies care about is the bottom line. They don't even understand their brands growth goals because every time we ask, they have no idea. We care for our direct clients because we want our partners to grow, and the specialized attention they receive from us outshines everyone else.

If independent podcast networks are going to make it, then they must diversify. Here at TWiT, we cannot rely on podcast advertising anymore, it takes subscriptions, clubs, and fan support to make it all happen, and even then, we wear many hats to make it all work.

Subscribe to your favorite podcasts, support their sponsors, join their clubs, or pay for your content.

Thanks for listening, and have a great day.

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