Based on an analysis of the top podcasts across the Society & Culture, Health & Wellness, News, and Education genres, TED Talks Daily, Stuff You Should Know, This American Life, The Daily, Up First, and Freakonomics were listed the most on the Apple Podcast charts, Stitcher charts, Spotify charts, and Google charts. The podcasts that were examined can be found in the section titled “Top Podcasts In The News, Education, Society & Culture, and Health & Wellness Genres.”
Please note that “Unlocking Us with Brené Brown” was one of the top podcasts listed at least twice. However, it was just launched in March 2020 and so far, there has been no mention of the number of listeners it has or the demographic of its listeners. In addition, in a few cases, the number of downloads was provided rather than the number of listeners as this is the only data the podcasts disclosed.
1. TED Talks Daily
- In February 2020, TED mentioned that it amasses 59 million monthly downloads across all its podcasts: TED Talks Daily, Work Life With Adam Grant, The Interview, Sincerely, and ZigZag. It also indicated that TED Talks Daily is one of the most downloaded podcasts on Apple Podcasts.
- TED Talks Daily alone garners around 20 million global monthly downloads.
- The vast majority of TED Talks Daily listeners are affluent. Roughly 70% have an average household income of more than $75,000.
- These individuals are also educated as at least 64% are college graduates.
- About 56% of TED Talks Daily listeners are women.
- While TED has not provided a breakdown of the age of its listeners, the company has a strong digital presence. Its main platforms on social media are Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Based on its followership, it can be ascertained that millennials and Gen Xers account for a significant portion of its listeners.
2. Stuff You Should Know
- Stuff You Should Know averages about 30 million monthly downloads globally and more than a million downloads weekly. It has not published any information on the age, gender, education, and income of its listeners. In several articles featuring the podcast, it is mentioned that it keeps this information private.
3. This American Life
- This American Life has over 2 million weekly podcast listeners and more than 3 million monthly downloads.
- Its listeners tend to be middle class or upper class highly-educated Americans who are liberals. Majority of This American Life listeners hold at least a four-year college degree.
- Most of its listeners are White, socially conscious and politically active.
- This American Life offers a diversity of perspectives that grabs the attention of millennials and younger Gen Xers.
4. The Daily
- The Daily has 4 million daily listeners. The podcast “drives affinity with listeners,” especially young people. Most of its listeners are under 40 years old.
- Its listeners are highly educated and affluent as well. More than half of its listeners have a four year college degree.
- While The Daily has not revealed any information on the gender of its listeners, it can be safely assumed that a significant share of its listeners are women. This is because most podcast listeners in the US are women and over 40% of New York Times audience are women. Of note, The Daily is owned and managed by New York Times.
5. Up First
- Up First reaches over a million listeners weekly. About 8 in 10 Up First listeners listen to the podcast daily.
- The average age of Up First listeners is 32.
- Up First and The Daily reportedly have similar audiences. By inference, it is likely that Up First listeners are also well-educated women with a high household income.
- The average income of Americans between ages 25 to 34 in the US is $70,000. This corroborates the aforementioned data.
- Freakonomics has at least 12 million downloads monthly.
- Roughly 50% of its listeners are millennials – between ages 25 to 35 – while almost 25% are between ages 35 to 44.
- Freakonomics listeners are also well educated. Over 35% have a graduate degree, while 43% have a bachelor’s degree.
- Its listeners are well off as 40% have an annual income of $100,000 or more.
- In 2013, Freakonomics reported that less than 30% of its listeners were women. It has not released any recent data on its listeners.