Downloads Soar in 2018
In 2018, ESPN’s podcast business compiled 411 million IAB Certified downloads, as measured by Blubrry, an increase of 43% over the previous year.
The most downloaded show was The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, with more than 91 million IAB Certified downloads. On the heels of this success, the Le Batard and Friends Podcast Network will be launching in early 2019 with new shows.
First Take, the leading television show podcast, was next with more than 31 million IAB Certified downloads. Among original podcasts, 538: Politics enjoyed another strong year with more than 26 million, followed by Fantasy Focus Football with more than 21 million.
The Stephen A. Smith Show podcast was the year’s biggest mover, increasing downloads 250% while 30 for 30, First Take and ESPN FC all more than doubled downloads.
ESPN’s Podcast Measurement Now Certified
Major Step Forward in Quantifying Downloads
ESPN’s podcast measurement vendor Blubrry has announced in coordination with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) that their measurement system, which ESPN uses, is now “Certified” as compliant with the IAB guidelines. This important step forward ensures accuracy in quantifying downloads for media and advertisers. ESPN is one of a limited number of major podcast producers to attain this level of acknowledgement and approval.
“Our certification is a direct result of ESPN working with our vendor and the IAB to ensure that ESPN metrics are aligned with the IAB Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines,” said E.Thomas Ricks, ESPN vice president, digital strategy and marketing. “That said, this in no way impacts our podcast download numbers we’ve previously published. We’ve always held ourselves to this high standard and now have the certification as validation of that. ESPN continues to advocate for better measurement as the podcast landscape changes and evolves.”
In making the announcement, Todd Cochrane, Blubrry CEO said, “This is the gold standard. There is no substitution to certification of compliance.”
ESPN Audio launched its first podcast in 2005 and is a leader in the sports genre with more than 35 original offerings, plus shows from ESPN Radio and television. Offerings focus on “sports passions” (NFL, NBA, MLB, etc.), storytelling (“30 for 30”) and compelling personalities. The most popular titles include Fantasy Focus Football, The Lowe Post as well as podcasts of ESPN Radio’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, and TV’s First Take, Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn. In 2018, ESPN’s podcast business broke its record for most downloads in a month three times.