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End of the Podcast Era? Nope, Look Globally.
By: Hebah Fisher, Cofounder, and CEO
While many forecasters anticipate an “end of an era” for podcast listening in the US market (Triton’s latest US report shows a 20% YoY growth in downloads, TBD the total listeners trend), international listenership is indisputably on the rise. Podcast listening skyrocketed in Spain (+298%), Italy (+244%), and France (+379%) in 2022, and is growing the fastest in: Chile (+83%), Argentina (+55%), Peru (+49%), Mexico (+47%), and China (+43%) (Source: Spotify). In our MENA context, Kerning Cultures Network grew its audience by 1.5x audience in 2022, the majority coming from Saudi, Egypt, and the UAE.
Not only are more geographies tuning into podcasts, but also, more age groups are rapidly growing as first-time and loyal listeners to podcasts. Ages 13-17 grew +49%, ages 55-64 grew +45%, and ages 65+ grew +42% in 2022 as new podcast audiences (Source: Spotify). Gen Z, our parents, and our grandparents are the next wave of audiences to create podcasts for. 62% of millennials and 43% of Gen Zs in the UAE said they’ve sought more content from more diverse creators and podcasters in the last year (Source: Spotify).
This widening of the market is aided by the ease of use and content discovery facilitated by audio streaming platforms Spotify and Anghami. The Arabic-first streaming platform Anghami reported a 46% YoY increase in users in the first half of 2021, or 19.5 million total active users (Source: Anghami). Meanwhile, Spotify just reported its Q4 earnings for 2022, with the biggest global growth to date (489 million active users).
All this is to say: podcasts are increasingly mainstream media, and we’re seeing a deepening of engagement in international markets– like the Middle East and North Africa!