The podcast ecosystem

The venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz just published an early-stage investor’s take on the burgeoning podcast industry.

For anyone interested in podcasts as a medium, it’s a fascinating report that deserves a full read—including the section on China, where the full commercial promise of podcasts is playing out fastest on the globe.

We’ve pulled out data specifically on the marketing promise of podcasts:


• There are ~700K free podcasts available today. Thousands more launch every week.

• One third of all Americans listen to podcasts monthly, one quarter listen weekly:

o Weekly listeners average seven episodes per week, and one hour a day.

o Average podcast listeners consume only slightly less—about six hours per week.

• Podcast listeners are a rarified demographic: affluent, well-educated, currently skewing male (although females are approaching parity).

• Listening happens mostly at home, although this should change with new technologies (e.g., better devices in cars).


• Podcast ads meaningfully increase purchase intent among a hard-to-reach demographic (see above).

• Podcast ads are still hard to target; listener data isn’t available and “listens” (vs. downloads) are impossible to measure.


• The Chinese experience suggests that social interaction and community (“social audio,” including live audio) may be the most fruitful path forward.

(c) andreessen horowitz

(c) andreessen horowitz