BBC Sounds achieved an all-time record for podcast listeners last year

News and current podcasts dominated in popularity, according to Q4 2022 report

Media platform BBC Sounds has revealed that it achieved a new significant milestone for the number of plays across its on-demand audio content – including radio and podcasts – in its latest quarterly report. 

The BBC subsidiary in total amassed 198m plays across its on-demand audio content, which is a 20m increase since Q3 2022. This amounts for nearly 47% of BBC Sounds’ total listenership across all content compared to live audiences. 

Additionally, current affairs podcast Newscast was unsurprisingly the top-played podcast on the platform as news podcasts continue to dominate the charts in the UK. The series – which was previously led by producer Dino Sofos who now works on Global’s The News Agents – was also the most-played podcast during the BBC’s reported festive period. 

“More and more people are also discovering great audio from the BBC on Sounds, wherever and whenever they want to, and we’ve seen record plays of our on-demand content,” said BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore. “Newscast has truly secured its position as an essential daily listen as listeners come to us for high quality news and insightful analysis.”

BBC Radio 4’s supernatural podcast The Witch Farm and history podcast You’re Dead to Me followed behind Newscast – respectively – on the ‘Top 10 Podcasts Across all Plays’ chart. BBC News’ Ukrainecast also made it to the list, ranking in ninth place. 

According to the top podcasts list across global plays and on third-party platforms, the number one most popular BBC podcast was the Global News podcast, followed by The Documentary podcast and then Newscast once again. Other genres on that list include sport with 5 Live’s Football Daily in fifth place and language-learning with BBC Radio’s 6 Minute English in fourth place. 

“People have also enjoyed content that matches their interests and entertains them, from our football titles to lifestyle shows and Radio 1’s Murder Mystery, and the brilliant storytelling in our investigative podcasts and interviews,” said Moore. 

The BBC is continuing to expand its efforts in the podcasting space by continuing to commission podcasts with programmes such as BBC Audio Labs – which takes in a group of successful applicants and helps them turn an idea into a show – as well as podcast partnerships, such as the recent one with CBC to create three new podcasts in 2023, the first of which is titled Love, Janessa and is already out.