Comedy, music and sports: Which type of podcasts do Britons tune into and where?
May 3rd, 2023, Bhavika Bansal

Comedy, music and sports: Which type of podcasts do Britons tune into and where?

With the proportion of weekly podcast listeners in Great Britain increasing, from 36% in 2021 – as highlighted in the YouGov Global Media Outlook Report - to 42% in April 2023 (as per the latest data from YouGov Profiles) it is safe to say that podcasts are not a bubble about to burst.  But what types of podcasts are engaging British listeners, what services and/or apps are Britons using to stream them and what are their opinions on advertising in podcasts? 

A look at Britons who listen to podcasts at least once a week reveals some interesting answers to the above questions. 

Comedy (31%) is the top podcast genre amongst this group followed by sports (21%) and TV and movies (20%) in second and third place. Documentaries (15%) and educational podcasts (14%) bring up the rear of the list of top ten podcast genres amongst Britons who listen to podcasts at least once a week.

While close to a third of the male podcast listeners (29%) listen to sports podcasts, this proportion falls to just a twentieth when it comes to female listeners (4%). Similarly, men are also significantly likelier than women to engage with technology podcasts (22% vs. 9%).

On the other hand, our female respondents are far more likely to regularly listen to health and living podcasts and educational productions compared to their male counterparts – 22% vs. 13% and 18% vs. 12% respectively. 

From Spotify podcasts and Sticher to Audible and Pocket Casts, Britons waiting to tune in to their favourite podcast have a variety of services and apps at their disposal. But, which of these services is the most popular right now?

Data from YouGov profiles shows that among Britons who listen to podcasts at least once a week, Spotify is the most popular option (38%), followed by BBC Sounds (26%) and Apple Podcasts (23%).

Nearly half of our 18-34-year-old respondents (49%) use Spotify podcasts compared to only a fifth of respondents aged 55 and above (20%). Similarly, 18-34-year-olds and 35-54-year-olds are significantly more likely to stream podcasts using Apple podcasts (21% and 27% respectively) than weekly listeners above the age of 55 (18%).

On the other hand, while close to three-fifths of listeners aged 55 and above tune in to BBC Ssounds, only one out of eight 18-34-year-olds do the same (12%).

According to a recently published study by IAB Europe, digital audio is set to become a €1.5 billion advertising business in Europe by the end of 2023. Studies also show that podcast ad spends in the UK are projected to reach GBP 64 million by 2025. As podcast advertising continues to become an increasingly important tactic for marketers across Europe, it can be useful to understand the British listener’s view of advertisements in podcasts.

Nearly two-fifths of Britons who listen to podcasts at least once a week find advertisements in podcasts intrusive and skip them (39%) compared to 16% of listeners who find such ads intrusive but listen to them anyway.  

More than an eighth of listeners find podcast ads unintrusive and uninteresting (16%). However, an almost equal proportion of listeners also say that they find such advertising unintrusive and interesting (15%). 

Less than a tenth of our respondents claim that they do not listen to podcasts with advertisements at all (6%).

Evidently, while a majority of Britons who tune in to a podcast at least once a week are likely to skip podcast ads, a substantial proportion don’t do so and many even find podcast ads interesting. This paints a promising picture for marketers and brands looking to explore the world of podcast advertising or up their existing podcast ad spends. 

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Great Britain is nationally representative of the online population and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles

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