BBC Sounds hits 226 million plays across podcasts and on-demand radio

Newscast continues to be most popular podcast amongst listeners

BBC Sounds has achieved a new record with 226 million plays across podcasts and on-demand radio, which is up by 27% year on year according to its Q3 2023 report

“There were over 600 million plays on BBC Sounds for all content – a new record and an incredible achievement for a platform we launched only five years ago,” said BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore. “Our digital offer for audiences continues to go from strength to strength, delivering standout live and on-demand content for listeners, wherever and whenever they need it.”

The top podcast for this quarter amongst all plays was current affairs series Newscast, hosted by veteran journalist Adam Fleming and BBC Political Editor Chris Mason. The podcast recently started releasing episodes every day of the week with the addition of weekend hosts, Laura Kuenssberg and Paddy O'Connell. 

Newscast continued to be in the number one spot for all of Q3 and Q4 last year, as well as Q2 this year, as more audiences were tuning into news podcasts to gain insight from experts on the unstable world of politics. In Q1 2023, investigative podcast series I’m Not A Monster replaced Newscast as number one, with the launch of its new season telling the story of Shamima Begum. 

I’m Not A Monster recently won silver for Best True Crime, Best News and Current Affairs, and Best Documentary podcast at the British Podcast Awards, where a number of other BBC investigative and true crime podcasts were also nominated. This quarter, investigative and true crime podcasts from BBC Sounds also topped the charts including The Banksy Story (4), The Crossbow Killer (5), and Sport's Strangest Crimes (6). 

Other podcasts that were in the top 10 on BBC Sounds this quarter demonstrate an appetite for learning from listeners, with shows like health and wellbeing podcast Just One Thing - with Michael Mosley, history podcast You're Dead to Me, discovery podcast Yeti, tech podcast Intrigue, and so on. Listeners aged 35 and under also listened to more sports podcasts this quarter, including cricket podcast Tailenders and football podcast Match of the Day: Top 10. 

The number of global BBC Sounds downloads across third-party platforms decreased by 13% year on year, however, now at 226 million global podcast downloads. The top podcasts amongst global audiences remained the same as the last quarter, and include theGlobal News Podcast, The Documentary Podcast, and Newscast.