BBC Sounds trends

BBC Sounds trends show the nation’s tastes for Q2 2021

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The current ratings (Q2 2021) show how the BBC Sounds trends mirror our viewing habits

BBC Sounds attracted a weekly audience of 3.7 million users across the app, website and voice activated devices between April and June, with a peak of 3.9 million during the week of the Line Of Duty finale.

Latest data shows there were 335 million plays of all audio and a total of 146 million plays for on demand radio and podcasts. Remaining steady for this quarter, 55% of overall plays on BBC Sounds were for live content and 66% of all listening hours on BBC Sounds were live.

The most popular titles this quarter demonstrate the huge range of audio people are enjoying on BBC Sounds:

In the quarter that included Euros 2020, That Peter Crouch Podcast and Match Of The Day: Top 10 were the most listened to podcasts by under 35 year-olds, and among the top 10 podcasts for both all adults and those with the highest proportion of listeners under 35. Football Daily was also the third most listened to on demand radio programme for under 35s

BBC Sounds continued to bring festivals to listeners with themed mixes for Glastonbury and BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend among the top ten most played music

New podcasts for this quarter which immediately proved popular and feature in the top ten include investigative true crime titles Gangster: The Story of Paul Massey and The Lazarus Heist, as well as wellbeing podcast Just One Thing With Michael Mosley

In addition to the popularity of Obsessed With… Line Of Duty, which was the third most listened to podcast, our TV soundtracks also featured in the top ten for music.

All good, and if you look through the press release, towards the bottom we noted:

With a total of 257 million global podcast downloads between April and June this year, Global News Podcast and The Documentary continued to receive the highest number of downloads on third party platforms, followed by Desert Island Discs and In Our Time.

There’s also a large section on podcasts in the release, well worth a read.

What do the BBC Sounds trends mean?

With that much data, you can draw many conclusions. Ours are:

There’s a strong synergy between viewing and listening (football and Line of Duty being the obvious examples)

The BBC brand us successful with third parties, and includes quintessential titles like Desert Island Discs. The press release also mentioned The Archers else where, and we did expect that to appear here as well (and the Shipping Forecast?)

We also have some questions:

On the assumption podcasts / other content are relatively low cost, how does the BBC measure success and how do they stack up against mainstream BBC Radio?

Is the amount of live content a reflection of people at home / work listening on their own devices when they could have listened to the same content on a radio? In other words, what does this all mean for the future of radio?

It’s definitely interesting and we will keep an eye on what this might mean longer term as the BBC continues to cut costs against its strategy. There’s also a presentation of the numbers available to download, it’s only a few pages!