Record podcast listening reported by BBC Sounds in 2019

The BBC is reporting record listening figures for its podcasts via BBC Sounds, with three million weekly users, up from 1.3 million in June.

There have also been more than 630 million plays of audio on Sounds across podcasts, live and on-demand radio programmes and music mixes.

Between February and November 2019, there was a 74% increase in plays of podcasts and on-demand radio programmes on the BBC.

Controller of BBC Sounds, Jonathan Wall, said: “It’s just over a year since we launched BBC Sounds and we’ve seen huge growth to around 3m weekly users. Sounds has allowed us to up our creative ambition and this year’s various hit BBC podcasts are brilliant examples of how we can make audio with great new UK talent on and off mic that sounds different.

“We’ll be launching new podcasts in early 2020 so there’s plenty more binge worthy audio to come on BBC Sounds.”

Over this year the BBC has significantly expanded its ambition in podcasting; commissioning and making entertaining, informative storytelling specifically for the podcasting medium.

This year has also seen an increase in radio programmes being listened to on-demand, with Radio 4’s The Archers, In Our Time and Desert Island Discs the most popular on-demand radio programmes. The Archers had over 49 million downloads or plays on BBC Sounds and on other platforms, In Our Time had over 34 million and Desert Island Discs had over 30 million downloads or plays, with Louis Theroux the most popular castaway.

Some of this year’s biggest BBC podcast hits are: (all figures are combined downloads or plays on BBC Sounds and other platforms in the UK and outside of the UK):

  • Brexitcast / Electioncast – more than 14 million for the BBC’s award-winning podcast with Adam Fleming, Laura Kuenssberg, Katya Adler and Chris Mason which gives listeners geeky insights into the world of Brexit and politics
  • That Peter Crouch Podcast – around 12 million, with the most popular episode of the podcast with Peter Crouch, Tom Fordyce and Chris Stark easily being That Crouchfest Episode
  • Beyond Today – around 8.5 million for the daily podcast that asks one big question about a story in the news. The most popular episode was ‘Why is Prince Harry taking on the press?’
  • 13 Minutes to the Moon – this podcast counts down the final thirteen minutes of Apollo 11 mission and has had nearly 6 million downloads and plays this year
  • Fortunately… with Fi and Jane – nearly 4.5 million downloads or plays this year for the podcast that goes behind the scenes with Jane Garvey and Fi Glover
  • You’re Dead To Me – over 4 million of our history podcast for people who don’t like history, hosted by Greg Jenner
  • Tunnel 29 – around 3.5 million downloads or plays of the extraordinary true story of a man who dug a tunnel under the Berlin Wall to help others escape, presented by journalist Helena Merriman
  • The Missing Cryptoqueen – over 3 million downloads or plays of the investigation by Jamie Bartlett and producer Georgia Catt into a complex cryptocurrency scam and its missing founder
  • Tailenders – over 2.5 million for the podcast in which Greg James, Jimmy Anderson and Felix White take an alternative look at cricket
  • Evil Genius – nearly 2.5 million for the podcast in which guests join Russell Kane to assess the heroes and villains from history

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