From audioblogging in the 1980s to the first digital audio podcast of 2004, the powerhouse audio medium of podcasting has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings. As of 2020, there are 850,000 active podcasts and over 30 million episodes, with more than half of all US consumers above the age of 12 that listen to podcasts. This is staggering growth, considering there were just 500,000 active podcasts in February 2018—and ESPN is betting big on this progression continuing.
This past October, ESPN podcasts were downloaded more than 69.5 million times—a record month for the company. MarketScale Radio hosts Daniel Litwin and Tyler Kern dive headfirst into the niche shows and top talent that are driving ESPN’s listener numbers, the challenges of production during lockdown, the importance of content creation, the competition they face, and more.
- ESPN podcasts broke records, downloading more than 96.5 million times in October.
- The company leaned into personality-driven podcasts and flexible remote workflows to churn out content.
- ESPN faces heavy competition in the space from Spotify, iHeartMedia, The Ringer, and Barstool.