Pew: NPR Relies on Podcasting for Growth

It is impossible to discuss public broadcasting without mentioning podcasts due to the medium's profound affect on NPR
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In part three of our analysis of Pew Research�s annual State of the News Media Report, we look at public broadcasting.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.�We won�t be looking in depth into the state of podcasting until tomorrow, but it is impossible to discuss public broadcasting without mentioning podcasts due to the medium's profound affect on NPR.

On a monthly average, downloads for podcasts from NPR have gone up 41 percent. As a result, the revenue generated from podcasts doubled from 2013 to 2014, according to NPR, and five months into 2015 it has already surpassed that of 2014. NPR�s total revenue also rose, in large part due to the success of podcasting.

While revenue may be up, weekly listeners to NPR is actually down. The broadcaster took a 4 percent drop in listeners from 27.3 million/week to 26.2 million/week. The number of NPR�s member organizations decreased for the second straight year as well, from 269 to 263. There was, however, an 11 percent growth in associate and full membership stations.

Listeners may be going away from listening to public broadcasters via over-the-air radio, but they still seek it out � they just do so in a new way. NPR�s digital presence has grown over multiple platforms, including website traffic, apps and online streaming. Monthly unique visitors to NPR.org have gone up 35 percent to 28 million, and that is not including apps or other digital listening options.

However, other public broadcasters are struggling to keep up with NPR and its digital audience, not to mention commercial stations. PBS� NewsHour online drew in 3.9 million unique visitors in January 2015; NBC News had 56 million, CBS News 47 million and ABC/Yahoo brought in 65 million unique visitors that same month, according to comScore. Other public broadcasters didn�t fare so well, either. MPRNews.org�s total digital population in Jan. 2015 was 869,000, while American Public Media Marketplace managed 506,000.

We will wrap up part four in the series�tomorrow with a look at podcasts.

You can find part one (overall findings) here,�and part two (audio) here.�

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