BBC marks 10 years of podcasting with record figures

The BBC today published a chart of its all-time most popular podcasts - alongside latest figures that show the technology is more popular than ever, 10 years after its launch.

Published: 15 October 2014
I am delighted to see that, 10 years after the BBC began offering podcasts, our programmes are being downloaded in record numbers.
— Helen Boaden, Director, BBC Radio

The BBC became the first British broadcaster to podcast when it made Radio 4’s In Our Time available to download in November 2004.

Nearly 10 years later, podcasting is being embraced by smartphone users, with record numbers downloading BBC programmes. Latest figures show 24 million UK downloads of BBC programmes in August alone – an increase of 36% on the same time last year.

To mark the occasion, the BBC has released a list of the 30 most downloaded programmes over the period.

Some of the best-known BBC Radio programmes rub shoulders with modern favourites and shows no longer broadcast, in a portfolio that is predominantly speech-based and dominated by Radio 4 content.

The latest monthly podcast figures (August 2014) also show The Archers was downloaded more than 2.2 million times (combined daily and Omnibus editions) and that many programmes are attracting record monthly audiences, with Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review (1.6m) Scott Mills (940k) and Woman’s Hour (783k) all drawing more downloads than ever.

In total, there have been more than 1.1 billion UK downloads of BBC podcasts since 2004.

Helen Boaden, Director of BBC Radio, said: “I am delighted to see that, 10 years after the BBC began offering podcasts, our programmes are being downloaded in record numbers. These figures show audiences' enduring appetite for a wide range of distinctive content and how digital media can bring brilliant programmes to an even wider audience. I hope podcast technologies continue to provide a boost to the whole radio industry.”

Mark Friend, Controller of Radio & Music Multiplatform, said: “These figures suggest that podcasting has been embraced by the smartphone generation and, 10 years on, is in rude health. The range of programmes in the top 30 shows the breadth of podcasting’s appeal and the popularity of a technology some thought would be losing relevance.”

In Our Time was made available in November 2004, before a series of podcasting trials and the launch of a full service in 2007.

See tables below.

JA