NEW YORK -- The number of new podcast launches mushroomed last year compared to 2019, a download-tracking firm said Wednesday, as listeners around the world adapted new habits during pandemic-induced lockdowns.
According to New York-based Chartable, a total of 885,262 new podcasts were launched worldwide in 2020, almost triple the 318,517 new offerings the year before.
During initial lockdowns in March and April, Chartable said podcast downloads took a hit as routines and commutes were upended.
"However, all that listening returned quickly as people developed new routines for the lockdown/shelter-in-place era," the firm said in a blog posting.
About 30% of new podcasts only have one or two episodes, with content creators trying out the medium.
But almost one-quarter of "podcasts started in 2021 have already published more than 10 episodes," Chartable said.
"That adds up to more than 200,000 new podcasts with real staying power."
Another noteworthy trend was the rapid growth in non-English-language podcasts, with just under half of the new programs coming in other languages.
Hindi-language podcasts grew the quickest, with a 14-fold increase, followed by Chinese, Portuguese, Indonesian and Spanish.
Educational podcasts (133,107) topped the genres on offer, ahead of culture and society (121,556) and arts (94,360).
Apple's own podcast platform steadily lost ground in terms of usage, sliding from nearly 42.7% market share to 37.8% as listeners increased in non-U.S. markets, where Android phones often dominate.
At the same time, Spotify, which has invested heavily in podcasts, saw its audience share increase steadily.
Ad revenue also rose, up 15% over 2019, with 160 new advertisers turning to podcasts each week.