One in three Irish people listen to a podcast every month, according to a new study.
We are famous for our love of storytelling and this is proving to be true for the 21st century’s newest form of the medium which can be listened to while walking the dog or driving the car.
The nation has the third highest listenership to podcasts in the world after high-tech South Korea and Spain.
The 2019 Reuters report found 37% of Irish people have used a podcast over the last month, just behind Spain at 39% and South Korea at 53% and ahead of the USA at 35%.
The Irish charts have an eclectic mix of podcasts with everything from crime shows like The Shrink Next Door and Man in the Window from US podcast giant, Wondery, to Met Éireann’s podcast and the Rubberbandits.
Podcasts are becoming more and more mainstream with Wondery’s Dirty John — one of the most talked-about true crime stories of recent years — being turned into a hit Netflix drama starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana.
Ruth Fitzsimons, the former senior vice president at AudioBoom which produced the award-winning true crime podcast Dead Man Talking, said the Irish podcast market is growing but it is still a couple of years behind the UK and the US in terms of investment.
“There has definitely been really interesting podcasts coming out in the last year or two years and you can see them growing them in scale.
“The likes of Blindboy is hitting charts outside of Ireland. You can see RTÉ investing in the likes of Brexit podcast. We’re seeing a lot of creativity and experimentation.
Ireland has always been great for storytelling so that’s not our problem. It’s how do we make those podcast that are long-running series.
She said it is not surprising that 37% of Irish people listen to podcasts every month compared to the UK figure of 21%.
“Irish people have always loved radio,” said the consultant.
The UK-based podcast consultant, who began her career as a producer in Newstalk, said one of the biggest success stories in podcasting to come out of Ireland was Audible’s West Cork podcast this year which focused on the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
It shows amazing stories can come from Ireland. We have the capability to do it and we’ve done it in every other medium.
The 2019 Reuters report found the most striking aspect of podcast consumption is the appeal to younger people.
“It’s important to realise that younger people are increasing consuming their content on demand. If you want to reach the audiences you have to go where they are”, said Ms Fitzsimons.
“In Ireland you just have to look at the popularity of Off The Ball, it has been a huge success. The show has a fanbase of its own and a roadshow.”
In Sweden and the United States, where podcasts have become a phenomenon, over half of under 35s have used a podcast monthly compared with less than a fifth of over 55s.