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Podcast Pontifications - Evo Terra EPISODE 270, 2nd March 2020
Podcasting's Hollowed-Out Middle Class [Episode 270]

Podcasting's Hollowed-Out Middle Class [Episode 270]

Podcasting has some really good benchmarking statistics. But what we (or at least I) really need to see is a distribution chart that shows clusters of podcasts by audience size.

We don't have that distribution chart in podcasting. Or if we do, I haven't seen it. Yet this is something that the podcast hosting companies could make for us. It’s something that third-party tracking services like Chartable could make for us. They're not, but I really wish they would.

So without an actual chart, I’m going to speculate that podcasting’s distribution chart would look very hollowed-out. 

If we grouped shows by the number of listeners/downloads, I speculate that we would see a really big cluster of shows at the bottom of the distribution chart. The further along the x-axis we travel, the size of the clusters of shows would drop off precipitously. How precipitously? We don’t know, because the data hasn’t been presented to us in this way. (Yet?) Continuing on, I’m betting that we’d see (or perhaps we’ll start to see) a new cluster of shows growing at the high end of the scale.

And a big gap in the middle. Hence the hollowing out of the middle of podcasting. Here’s why:

Factors that push the big-audience podcast cluster

  1. Big podcast creation companies are getting more money.
  2.  Podcast listening apps and directories get better at presenting better content.
  3. Non-podcasting big media will continue to get excited about podcasting.

Factors that push the small-audience podcast cluster

  1. More people listening to podcasts means more people dabbling in podcasting.
  2. More services will make easier to podcast. 

  3. Smaller shows are often happy staying small.

What do the podcasters you hang out with think about that statement? Are you sharing your numbers with one another? You should, and then you can make your own distribution curve to share with others. Tell your podcasting compatriots to listen to this episode of Podcast Pontifications and see if you can get them interested in contributing your own distribution graph. Maybe you’ll inspire others. Heck, I’ll even play along if you ask!


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Podcast Pontifications is published by Evo Terra four times a week and is aimed at the working podcaster. The purpose of this show is to make podcasting better, not just easier.

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