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Number Crunch: Podcasts

Say the word "podcast" and you might envisage a few geeks in a basement debating the merits of Star Wars vs Star Trek.

However podcasts have recently undergone a quiet revolution, and in 2016 are poised to becoming one of the fastest growing mediums for individuals and brands to reach new audiences.

Pod on

The term podcast was first mentioned by The Guardian journalist Ben Hammersley in an article back in 2004. There is some debate over the term's origins.

Most think the work is a mix of the words iPod and broadcast. Windows says the name is an acronym of Portable on Demand (POD) broadcast.

Break out moment

The rise of smartphones and tablets led to podcasting's increased popularity over the following decade.

However the medium's breakout moment came in late 2014 when the podcast Serial, which examined the murder of a US high school student, became the first podcast to pass five million downloads. 

Know how

Podcast listeners love learning about new stuff. The most popular podcasts are news and fact related. 

The top podcasts are currently Serial, This American Life (which produces Serial), TED Radio Hour, and Stuff You Should Know.

Mobile music

The majority of podcasts are consumed on-the-go. In 2014 over 2.6 billion podcasts were downloaded, with 63% of these experienced on mobile devices.

Listen up

Over one third of US users aged over 12 years have listened to podcasts.

And the percentage of US users who listen to podcasts monthly has almost doubled from 9% in 2008 to 17% in 2015.

Overall, awareness of podcasts has raised to 45%.

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