The way people consume content is always changing and developing. Where physical books, videotapes, cassettes and vinyl once dominated the media landscape, digital technology has fundamentally revolutionised the entertainment industry.
One of the most recently popularised media formats is the podcast, which is essentially an episodic talk show which is available on-demand online. With streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ upending the traditional TV format of channels and programmes with set times, podcasts are doing the same for traditional radio.
Available to watch on a plethora of sites and platforms, podcasts have opened up the world of radio to a whole new generation of listeners who either felt out of touch with traditional radio or were not able to tune in at specific times to catch regular episodes.
Podcasts are also very easy for creatives to set up, and have become so popular that there is a show for just about every niche imaginable. However, with so much content out there, it can be difficult to track down the best programme for you.
To get a better understanding of the podcast phenomenon, we at MrQ have created the Global Podcast Index to shed some light on the most popular shows and genres across the world.
The most popular podcast in every country
From the millions of podcasts out there, we’ve endeavoured to find the most popular podcast in every country. These shows cover a wide range of topics and genres and give us an idea of how listening preferences change from country to country.
What’s the most popular podcast where you live?
The World's Top Podcasts
Having found the top podcast in every country, we tallied up the results to find out which shows came out at number 1 in the most places. This has allowed us to reveal the podcasts that are the most widely popular, with huge interest coming from different parts of the world.
1. Love is a Crime - Number of countries at number 1:14
This true crime historical noir drama (yes, it is all of those things) is the most popular podcast in more countries than any other show. Set in 1950’s Hollywood, this podcast stars the likes of Jon Hamm and Zooey Deschanel and has attracted listeners from all over the world.
2. Apple Events - Number of countries at number 1:6
The second most widely popular podcast is Apple Events, a show which sees announcements of new Apple products, services and technology, as well as being a great place to learn about the history of personal technology.
3. كنبة السبت | Saturday Sofa & Despertando Podcast - Number of countries at number 1:5
Tied in third place are Saturday Sofa and Despertando Podcast, both of which came top in five countries each. Despertando Podcast is a daily morning show with a focus on wellbeing and is popular in many South American countries. Saturday Sofa is an Arabic show in which social, psychological and philosophical themes are explored every other Saturday.
The Top Podcast Genres
1. Society & Culture - No. of countries in which the genre is top: 35
The genre that comes top in the most countries is Society & Culture, which took first place in 35 different countries. Some of the shows that fell into this category include Australia’s top podcast Honestly with Bari Weiss and Stuff You Should Know, the top podcast in the Seychelles.
2. TV & Film - No. of countries in which the genre is top: 15
The second most popular genre across all countries was TV & Film, which came top in 15 countries. Love is a Crime dominated this category and was joined by As You Should with Cely and Justine, the most popular podcast in Guyana.
3. Comedy - No. of countries in which genre is top: 15
Comedy tied for second place, also coming top in 15 countries. The top show in Great Britain, Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe’s Parenting Hell, falls into this category along with the top show in Croatia, Lebanon and Macedonia Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain.
Change in UK Podcast Demand Since 2018
We also wanted to find out which podcast genres have seen the biggest surge in interest over the last few years. Here we can see the genres that have received the biggest increase in search volume since 2018.
1. Cryptocurrency - Search Volume Increase: 256.41%
Cryptocurrency is the podcast genre that has seen the biggest uplift in interest online, with average monthly searches increasing by a whopping 256% since 2018. Cryptocurrency has seen a huge explosion in interest across all media in the last few years as it gradually becomes more of a mainstream financial option.
2. Celebrity - Search Volume Increase: 141%
Celebrity podcasts are the genre with the second-highest increase in search volume since 2018 at 141%. Celebrity culture is as strong as ever in the UK, with the famous few capitalising on their success in all forms of media from book deals to TV shows and now their own podcasts.
3. Spirituality - Search Volume Increase: 140%
In stark contrast to the focus on wealth and success seen in the top two genres, third place is taken by spirituality podcasts with an increase in searches of 140%.
Change in Global Podcast Demand Since 2018
We also looked at how the popularity of different podcast genres has changed globally since 2018.
1. Cryptocurrency - Search Volume Increase: 201%.
Cryptocurrency also takes the number one spot worldwide for the biggest increase in search volume, showing that interest in these podcasts is growing the fastest out of any genre.
2. Spirituality - Search Volume Increase: 88.41%
Spirituality takes second place globally with an increase in searches of 88%. This genre could cover a wide range of topics from religion, to philosophy to meditation.
3. True Crime - Search Volume Increase: 81%
In third place is the true crime genre, with an increase of 81%. True crime is a hugely popular genre in both TV and literature, so it should come as no surprise that our interest in some of the darker aspects of society should translate to the podcast format.
We wanted to discover which podcasts are the most popular in every country, as well as find out the most popular genres, and which are currently increasing in popularity the most. To do this we collected data on each country’s top podcast from Chartable. This data was collected on the 5th of November.
Once we had this data we were able to create a table of each country’s favourite podcast, and tally up which genres were the most common. We then revealed separately the most common podcasts and genres to reach a nationwide number 1 spot.
In addition to this, we also looked at public interest in podcasts through search volumes, using Google Keyword Planner to find out how many searches each of a long list of podcast genres received on average per month, both in 2018 and 2021. We then calculated the percent difference between the search volumes for each podcast between the two years and ranked them accordingly. We did this both for the UK and globally, to see how the UK’s taste in podcasts differs from the global norm.
We also removed any podcasts that received fewer than 100 monthly searches to prevent small increases in search volume being represented as huge percent increases, potentially warping the results.