Hey, nerds! Forget the arcane, impenetrable, new-subscription-skewed iTunes charts. Check out these recent stats. They reveal how many people download all the BBC podcasts, accurate as of September 2009 – that is, those podcasts comprising mostly bits of existing radio shows on the BBC, advertised by the BBC, and with the backing of the mighty international BBC brand. Not indie ones like ours made up of original material every week even when Richard is in a bad mood. Still, numbers like Adam and Joe’s monthly figure of 275,401 rather put into the shade the 23,000 who we have this week discovered regularly download the Collings & Herrin Podcast – which, of course, would make 92,000 a month. Still, we love every single one of those 23,000 people, and don’t mind competing on the mezzanine floor of popularity with R1’s Mini-Mix and R4’s Excess Baggage.


More C&H stats courtesy of Orange Mark:

Around 19,500 very keen listeners download a new podcast in the first couple of days. Considering it’s nominally “topical”, we enjoy quite a “long tail” … for example, Podcast 10, recorded way back in April 2008, has been downloaded 513 times this month! Podcast 74, the pre-Edinburgh one, is the most downloaded to date, with nearly 30,000 listeners. Podcast 69, the Virgillio Anderson one, is close behind with 28,000. Meanwhile, 21,000 idiots ignored the warning and listened to the post-Edinburgh one in the hotel room.

In total, our podcasts combined together have been downloaded over 2 million times. So fuck you, Mini-Mix!


35 thoughts on “Crunch

  1. Hi Andrew, You're doing yourself a massive disservice here. The BBC figures you've quoted are for monthly downloads wheras your figures you are using are weekly amounts.Using the rough logic that you do 4 podcasts in a month the you'd have 92,000 monthly downloads which would put you up ahead of Radio 1's Mini Mix and just behind Radio 4 Choice.Adam

  2. Interesting.This is probably going over old ground but is there a reason Apple are so secretive about how their ranking system works?If they gave out download figures as above I can't think that it would affect them.

  3. And: When they say "monthly downlowds that is presumably the total number of downloads for the month, including the "tail", not just that month's new podcasts. Your HUGE, man.

  4. Thanks to Adam, I have seasonally adjusted my original figures. You're right, Adam – we get an average of 92,000 downloads a month. I'm glad you and others spotted that, otherwise I might have suggested we call it a day.Only joking.

  5. Interesting table, particulary to see Wogan so far down. His podcast is a joy – pure Wogan without any mild pop. Good to see Rhod Gilbert getting a good total for a 'minority' station too.Keep up the good work, BBC, and keep up the free work, Mr Collins! The grebos, crusties and goths will appreciate it.My word verification is 'Calutu'.

  6. I understand that the 'subscribe in iTunes' links in the BBC website podcast directory do not point to the iTunes store, and subscriptions using those links are not counted. Maybe this is a deliberate thing so that the iTunes chart is dominated by the BBC. Thus the iTunes chart is skewed in you indie podcasters' favour a bit.Adam, certain BBC podcasts, including the Adam and Joe one, seem to be being archived now cos of this trial they're trialling:

  7. Can anyone tell me what number podcast is the one where we first heard Andrew utter the immortal words "ma favourite programme"? I was on the train up to Edinburgh when I heard it and was crying with laughter.

  8. You and Richard should be very proud of the figures, and more so of the quality of the podcast which (even in a rare 'off' week) is extremely high. I usually listen while cleaning out my kitchen so at the very least, you have saved my family from food poisoning. That's a mighty fine achievement for any celebrity to aspire to. Thank you.

  9. I think it is still possible to download programmes after a week. For example I just went to Saturday Review and you can listen again to programmes from April onwards in the iPlayer, and before that you can go into the "archive" and it lets you listen to the sound file in Real Player. Strictly speaking these are streams I suppose and not podcasts which are downloaded, but I also think that if I subscribe through iTunes, and then for some reason don't download the podcast that week, I can still go in and "get all" that I have missed. I'm pretty sure I've done this at various times. All of these, streams or downloads, are presumably logged somehow, and who's to say they don't show up in the figures that Andrew has so helpfully* displayed here?*there goes my weekend

  10. Helen, I think I first mentioned "ma favourite programme" in one of the five live Edinburgh podcasts, possibly the first or second. Anyone confirm? (I certainly haven't got time to check.)Of course, you can hear all about the derivation of the phrase, in context, read by me, in the chapter "Ma Favourite Programme" in the audiobook of Where Did It All Go Right? available from Go Faster Stripe. (Or read it in the special printed-word book version, but the audiobook is the perfect Christmas gift.)

  11. Andrew, its like I planned that….good plug for the audio book.I'm ashamed to say I haven't started listening to it yet. Now I've purchased my iPhone though I plan to convert to mp3 so can listen on the train. Will look forward to the 'ma favourite programme' bit. I'm so tempted to get a t-shirt.

  12. Hello again. Where are these charts from, is it a BBC webpage? Could I have the address so I can look into all of this in MUCH more detail? For example, what is the difference between listening through iPlayer and downloading the podcast (in the case of Adam and Joe they are distinctly different items, but In Our Time is presumably just In Our Time – I'm doubting Melvyn records any extra "podcast only" jingles)?ThanksPeter

  13. Actually it's 99,666 a month as there are more than four weeks in a month. So multiply 23000 x 52 and divide by 12 to find out we are very close to an average of 100,000 downloads a month. Simples!

  14. AC without wanting to blow whatever you blow up people's fundaments I would guess a higher proportion of you listener actually listen to your podcast. I imagine many of the Beebs "listeners" where impulse downloads and just slowly build up in people itunes undisturbed after awhile.Also think I owe you some cash I bought your book in a charity shop the other day, it's really hooked me in. keep up the good work

  15. @hairyegg Thanks for that link, wasn't aware they were extending their availability. That's fantastic in case I miss one in future.However, these figures are for September 2009 and this trial only started in October so they wouldn't be featured here.It will be interesting to compare these to their next batch of figures and see if longer availability has increased their downloads significantly.

  16. Top stats! Just wanted to let you know what a pleasure it was to hear you live on 6 Music this week. Wouldn't normally have been able to listen live but my CAB training was cancelled due to the tutor having the hogpox. For Helen's info I can confirm that 'mah favourite programme' appears in Podcast 75, the first of this year's live in Edinburgh shows…at minute 25:48. (I hope my training starts up again next week, no one should have this much time on their hands…)

  17. "We don't mind competing on the mezzanine floor of popularity with R1's Mini-Mix and R4's Excess Baggage."You should rename your podcast 'Excess Baggage', duping many of their listeners to hear you and leaping to the next floor of popularity. Also, it would give you and Rich something to argue about, e.g. who is really the excess baggage of the C & H podcast? An argument Rich will win by shouting loudest. I've never heard R1's Mini Mix, but it does sound a bit paltry, not a well-nourished 66 minutes I would imagine.Ticko

  18. Absolutely wonderful to see how low George Lamb's figures are. I love that he's getting royally trounced by Adam & Joe. Nice to see Jon Richardson getting such decent figures as well.

  19. Andrew, I've been tooling about with podcasts since around the same time as you have. Sometimes we have tooled around together. In that time I've quizzed everyone I've come across who might know anything about the technicalities of podcast listening and I've never had a really satisfactory account of how they work. But I've come to the conclusion there are four stages:1. Signing up to a feed. As in "if you want to listen to the regular free podcast that comes with our hugely-rating publicly funded radio programme just hit this link and you're subscribed."2. Whenever you launch iTunes or your feed reader of choice it goes looking to see if there's anything new on your feeds. If there is it downloads it. If there isn't it still counts as a hit on the feed.3. Deciding to listen to the podcast.4. Actually listening to all of said podcast.I would venture that some of those apparently high rating podcasts score very well on category 1. and by extension category 2. but whether they score on 3. 0r 4. can only be judged by the number of people who say to you "as I was hearing somebody say on the podcast of the Nicky Campbell phone-in the other day". What we're always being told by advertising agencies is that media is all about engagement. I fancy your podcast has a lot more engagement than some of the things you're comparing yourself with. Now, if I'm wildly wrong, maybe somebody can lighten my darkness.

  20. David Hepworth describes the situation in my iTunes podcast library quite well, though the shows I download but rarely listen to include the Adam and Joe, because I generally listen to it live or via Listen Again (which according to the accompanying information on the data does not count as a podcast download, I think). It's interesting to note that for a very interactive show like A&J – getting on for 300K downloads plus all the radio/Listen Again audience – they don't really get that many people participating. Back in the days when they were doing Song Wars, it would generally only get about 100-odd votes – around the same number as send in photographs of themselves in the bin, or even produce bespoke videos for old Song Wars songs. Can we compare this with the number of people who turn up to live C&H podcasts (the audience for which is itself limited by geography). In short, I think the C&H audience is highly engaged, and compares well with "the guvnors" A&J. I'm going on about this quite a bit, aren't I? I made a Video Wars video as well.

  21. David Hepworth makes a good point. I subscribed to the Adam and Joe podcast when it first started. It gets downloaded onto my MP3 player every week. After a couple of months I delete the lot as I know I'll never get round to listen to them. But I do actually listen to your nonsense…Keith

  22. If you didn't know how to dismiss most of these numbers as meaningless, it would make poring obsessively over them quite a depressing way to spend your time.

  23. I once met a man, who worked for the BBC, who claimed to have invented the word "podcast". Does anyone know where the word came from? He seemed plausable, but I've not been able to find anything to back it up. Jon

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