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Podcasts command large and growing audiences but generate strikingly little revenue. Nonetheless, they are a valuable part of a multimedia content suite, and improvements in monetization may be around the corner.


  • In the US, 17% of the population are regular listeners, a proportion that has grown substantially in recent years. Podcast listeners are affluent and well educated, and thus attractive to advertisers.
  • It's difficult to measure the effectiveness of podcast advertising. Advertisers cannot tell exactly how many listeners a podcast has, who they are, or whether they skip the ads. This is significantly restricting the monetization potential of the medium.
  • A shift toward streaming rather downloading could make podcasts more visible, discoverable, and measurable. Spotify has begun to carry podcasts, and its success or failure will an important trial run for podcast streaming.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses the current state of the podcast market.
  • Evaluates the potential of podcasts as an advertising medium.
  • Identifies opportunities to grow the value of podcasts to producers and advertisers.

Key questions answered

  • Where do podcasts stand in the contemporary media market?
  • Why is podcast advertising revenue currently so limited?
  • What value can podcasts offer beyond advertising revenue?
  • Can podcasts be more effectively monetized?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • What is a podcast?
  • The audience for podcasts is narrow but growing
  • Discovery remains a major challenge
  • Podcasts have not yet been effectively monetized
  • Streaming is more promising than traditional platforms


  • Further reading
  • Author

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