Has Podcasting Just Made A Big Shift?


(By Rob Greenlee) We are going through some very disruptive and relatively unexpected times. The podcast creation and listening communities are being changed by the government’s current stay-at-home orders to fight the spread of this COVID-19 Pandemic.  This change in the podcasting market is likely significant as podcast consumption has always been mobile and on mobile devices.

Listening patterns are changing right now with podcast listeners staying home and not leaving home.  We are seeing podcast listening reductions from 12%-20% reported by podcasters and hosting platforms.

We still don’t know for sure yet if this reduction in listening is a long-term trend or just temporary until the virus outbreak has passed and people become mobile again.  This reduction in podcast listening could be a longer trend as businesses get more comfortable with employees working from home. The question is whether listeners will shift to more home listening as we become less mobile in our lifestyles.

Longer-term shift home of podcast listening would help fight climate change too.  I do think we will move past this Pandemic in a few months and get back to a level of normal, but this time listening habits may have changed permanently.  We shall see!   I speculate that many companies are going to be able to reduce office space and save costs and thus reduce the need for commuting.

We need to be thinking of ways to enable increasing listening from home. The smart agent interactive platforms from Amazon, Google, Apple could be part of the longer-term answer along with increases in desktop listening again at home.

Podcast listening in-home on mobile devices will increase over the short-term.  Then we will all get out of the house more and thus see listening grow more outside of the home again.  Keep producing your podcast consistently and we will see the listening market recover and start growing again.

Rob Greenlee is VP of Content and Partnerships, Libsyn (LSYN) and was inducted into the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame in 2017.  He currently co-hosts the “New Media Show”, a weekly audio and video podcast that streams LIVE on NewMediaShow.com/live, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch every Saturday morning at 9am PST/Noon EST

Reach out to Rob by e-mail at Robg@libsyn.com




  1. I’m conflicted. I feel the space is growing tremendously, and more networks are being created at this time. It’s tricky, but hopefully we all will be at full throttle soon!

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