Why your podcast downloads dropping recently may not be a bad thing

When you next log into your podcast hosting platform to take a peek at your audience data you may be in for a bit of a shock. It is likely that your worst podcasting fears have been realised and your download numbers have dropped but, don’t panic yet. 

There is a very simple reason why this has happened and, in the long term, it’s probably a good thing.

Why have my download numbers dropped?

The latest iOS 17 update for Apple devices has changed the way that automatic downloads are handled.

Automatic downloads for shows will now be paused when a listener hasn’t played/listened to a show they follow for either the last five episodes or the last fifteen days. This remains the case until a listener resumes playing that show or manually changes their download preferences to start automatically downloading episodes again. Apple say this is to help preserve device storage.

Obviously, this change doesn’t impact the number of people listening to your show via Apple devices but, as the market share for Apple Podcasts is so large, these changes can have a pretty heavy impact on your numbers. Earlier this week, for example, Buzzsprout reported that Apple downloads had fallen by 24%, largely down to this change.

Why isn’t this a bad thing?

I can understand that the first reaction to the news your downloads are going to drop is mild panic but it’s important to remember that the “listeners” never existed in the first place.

Sure, your content was being downloaded onto someone’s phone or tablet but it was never reaching anyone’s ears. Yes, your download numbers may appear smaller than before but the number of people hearing your content remains the same.

There was a similar impact on downloads in 2017-18 with the introduction of IAB Tech Lab Podcast Measurement 2.0 (the industry standard for measuring podcast audience). 

Previous to this podcast downloads/listens were measured by the number of times an RSS feed was “hit”. However, each feed could potentially be “hit” several times during a single listening session meaning that one listener was being counted multiple times.

The new IAB standard meant that listening was measured within a 24-hour window meaning that one person’s multiple listening sessions within 24 hours would count as one listen.

It resulted in some podcasters “losing” up to 60% of their “listeners” overnight.

The introduction of the IAB standard had a very different intention to the Apple Update. Whilst Apple are in pursuit of improving user experience, IAB wanted to improve reporting and give advertisers more confidence. The outcome however could be similar, and that’s why this may not be all bad.

In terms of the media landscape as a whole, podcasting is very much still the new kid on the block and as such has to work a little harder to attract the advertising pound.

Whilst it could be argued that the accuracy and transparency offered by podcasting far outstrips that of some of its competitors (radio and RAJAR for example) anything that can be done to increase advertiser confidence and attract more business into the sector is a positive thing.

Although it wasn’t their main intention, by making this switch, Apple is giving podcast advertisers more reassurance that the baked-in ads they are paying people to hear are reaching genuine pairs of ears. It’s worth noting that dynamically inserted advertising already gives advertisers this confidence as advertising impressions are only counted when an advert is consumed in its entirety.

As Acast CEO, Ross Adams pointed out, it’s short-term pain for long-term gain:

“In the long-term, the change will mean a more accurate picture of the listening frequency for each podcast which is a positive development for the industry as a whole. In the short-term, we expect a decrease in the number of overall listens and an increase in the average revenue per listen.”

Whilst the expected drop in numbers may be painful for many right now, more confidence in reporting data means more advertisers. Also, as Ross suggests, having more genuine listeners hearing adverts should lead to increases in ad effectiveness.

Both of these things will result in higher ad value and higher ad value means more money in podcasters’ pockets.

New Live Betting Radio Station in Call for Podcasters

A new 24/7 radio station has launched in the UK providing live sports betting content. Betting Radio is a unique blend of classic & contemporary indie & rock paired with expert betting tips and insights.

The Best Music, The Best Tips

Betting Radio is looking for sports podcasters to get involved by sending in clips of their pre or post match content from their show. Any content that is played out on air will receive a full credit and also link back to the specific podcast.

The content doesn’t need to be bespoke or made especially for the station, and it doesn’t need to feature loads of prices and bets either. The station is most interested in starting some great partnerships with some creators of great content.

There a few ground rules for anyone looking to work with the station:

• All persons involved with the podcast must be over 25 years old.

• There cannot be any live ad reads in the content, but mentions for sponsors of podcasts is permitted.

• Content should be suitable for broadcast.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please email Naz Premji – naz@sportsbroadcastmedia.co.uk and have a listen to www.bettingrad.io

Sport Social Podcast Network Announced As Headline Sponsor For Sports Podcast Awards 2024

The world of sports podcasting is in for a thrilling ride as we gear up for the 2024 Sports Podcast Awards. With the event just around the corner and entries now open, we are excited to announce we are the headline sponsor for this year’s awards!

The Sports Podcast Awards have always been a platform to celebrate the outstanding work of sports podcasters. By committing to this headline sponsorship, we’re taking that celebration to new heights. Its commitment to excellence mirrors our own, and together, we aim to recognize and honour the best in the business.

>> Click to enter the Sports Podcast Awards 2024

Anthony Cooper, Head of Content at Sport Industry Group, on behalf of the Sports Podcast Awards, had this to say:

“Sport Social Podcast Network’s involvement as the headline sponsor for the 2024 Sports Podcast Awards is a commitment to the ever growing industry of sports podcasts. Their dedication to distributing, growing and monetising high-quality sports content aligns perfectly with our mission to honour excellence in sports podcasting. We are thrilled to have them on board and look forward to an incredible celebration of the sports podcasting community.”

Stefan Doyle, Head of Sport Social, added:

“The Sports Podcast Awards continues to go from strength to strength and we are delighted to be the headline sponsor for 2024. This partnership embodies our shared vision for shining a light on sports podcasting and recognising the best creators and shows. Sport connects people all around the world and the production of excellent sport audio is on the rise globally. We’re excited to give the awards a platform to reach even more people.”

With Sport Social as our headline sponsor, the 2024 Sports Podcast Awards promise to be a spectacle like no other with the team an integral part of the action.

This partnership is a testament to the growing influence and importance of sports podcasting in the world of sports media. It’s not just about broadcasting games; it’s about telling stories, analysing plays, and giving voice to the passions of sports fans worldwide. 

Entry Requirements

Here are the entry requirements for the 2024 Sports Podcast Awards! Your main entry will be a minimum of one and a maximum of three samples from your podcast. These should each be 5 minutes or less. You will also provide your podcast artwork, podcast description, and a few sentences as to why you should win. Please note, if your show makes the official shortlist, all information will be publicly available unless otherwise noted.


Provide the name of your show and the podcast artwork.


What is your podcast about?


Upload up to 3, 5-minute audio samples.


A link to a full episode of your show in case there is interest to hear more than your samples.


Send in all your handles to facilitate connecting with others in this community.


Your opportunity to tell the judges why your podcast should win.

Important Entry Information

  • Entry is free for independent podcasts.
    • Creators who independently produce and manage their own podcast, without the management or ownership from major networks or corporations.
  • Cost of entry for others = $99 / £80.
  • You can enter multiple categories. Capped at $297 / £240.
  • You will be able to make changes until entries close.
  • Please note that if you reach the official shortlist, your information will be made publicly available unless otherwise noted.
  • The clips and episode you submit must have been released between October 2022 and October 2023.

>> Click to enter the Sports Podcast Awards 2024

Support Sport Social Podcasts At The Football Content Awards 2023

The nominations for this year’s Football Content Awards have been announced and we’re so pleased to see so many creators from the Sport Social Podcast Network recognised for the brilliant work they produce.

We’ve put together a list of everyone on Sport Social who have been nominated. They now need your help to bring home the gold!

Check out the full list below and cast your vote!









2023 Podcast Awards Nominees

A number of SSPN podcasts have been nominated for awards at the 2023 Podcast Awards, here they are…

Best Combat Sport

Best Cricket Podcast

Best Golf Podcast

Best Motorsport Podcast

Best Rugby Podcast

Best Soccer Podcast

Best Sport Comedy Podcast

Best Sport Talk Podcast

Best Tennis Podcast

Diverse Voices

Fantasy + Sport Betting

Equality + Social

SSPN March Newsletter

It’s lights out on a new Formula 1 season as Max Verstappen drove to victory in the first race of the season in Bahrain. Elsewhere, Tommy Fury secured a split decision win over Jake Paul in arguably the most anticipated contest between two novices in boxing history. And in cricket, England became only the fourth team in history to lose after enforcing the follow on in their nail-biting test with New Zealand.

Wherever you look there has been plenty of great sporting action this month and it’s reflected in the downloads across the Sport Social Podcast Network. For the first time, we achieved combined monthly downloads of over 5 million! Thank you for your efforts in making this happen. Remember, we’re here to support the great work you do. For any assistance, or for other enquiries, please email here.

Testing begins on new app and website for Sport Social

Last month we announced a new Sport Social website and app that will solidify us as the destination to find the best sport podcasts. This development will provide listeners with a fresh and easy-to-navigate place to listen to great sport content, and provide podcasters with the ability to stream live and offer subscription services through the Sport Social app.

We will be getting in touch with those who have signed up for Beta testing shortly. If you want an early look at the app and help shape its development please email podcast@sport-social.co.uk and one of the team will be in touch.

Get 10% off The Podcast Show in May

The countdown is on to The Podcast Show at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. The two day showpiece is taking place on the 24th- 25th of May and is the international event for podcasting.

The Sport Social team will have a stand on both days and we would love to see you there. For 10% off 1 & 2 Day tickets to the event, just enter “VOICEWORKS” when you checkout.

Attending the event? Let us know! Link to podcast@sport-social.co.uk 

Sound Business Podcast: Everything you need to know about podcast SEO

In our latest episode of Voiceworks: Sound Business, we have a go at unpicking the “dark art” of Podcast SEO. Getting your podcast heard by more people is one of the most challenging problems that content creators can face and in this chat with Castos CEO Craig Hewitt, our Director of Sport, Jim Salveson, drills down into the Do’s and Do Not’s of Podcast SEO. The pair identify some key tips and tricks that you can adopt today to get your podcast heard by more people. 

Listen here

A Celtic State Of Mind Join Sport Social

Fresh from victory in the Scottish League Cup Final at the end of February, we are excited to welcome A Celtic State Of Mind to Sport Social.

The award-winning podcast offers a tantalising instalment of topical Celtic discussion, debate and insight. Hosted by author and documentary-maker, Paul John Dykes, ACSOM delves into the culture of Celtic Football Club and its fans. The podcast’s mix of football and music chat will strike a chord with Celtic fans, as will the big interviews with individuals who possess A Celtic State of Mind. 

Listen now

To learn more about the Sports Social Podcast Network click here.

SSPN February Newsletter

Welcome to the February edition of Team Talk with all the latest news from the Sport Social Podcast Network.

It’s been a big start to the year already in the world of sport. We’ve had all the drama of the transfer window and the FA Cup. Novak Djokovic picked up his 22 grand slam title at the Australian Open and in snooker Judd Trump won the Masters for a second time. Plus, the Six Nations gets underway this weekend. Will France be able to repeat their grand slam heroics of 2022 or will another country be victorious?

It’s been a strong start to the year for The Sport Social Podcast Network too. We are now home to nearly 250 podcasts and combined monthly downloads of over 4.5 million. This is brilliant news as we look to secure exciting commercial deals across our verticals in 2023. Make sure you are placing your ad markers in your podcasts, so that we can continue to help you make the most of your inventory. For any assistance with this, or for other enquiries, please contact the team here. Link to podcast@sport-social.co.uk email.

New website and app launch coming this Spring

We are very excited to announce that we will be releasing a new website and app this Spring that will solidify Sport Social as the destination to find the best sport podcasts.

As well as providing listeners with a fresh and easy to navigate place to listen to great sport content, this latest update will also provide podcasters with the ability to stream live and offer subscription services through the Sport Social app. More information to follow in the coming months!

If you would like to help us by getting involved with Beta testing, please email podcast@sport-social.co.uk and one of the team will be in touch.

Autosport F1 & Motorsport podcast joins Sport Social

We are delighted to announce we will be working with Motorsport Network for 2023.

The Autosport podcast is the official podcast of Autosport, the world’s leading authority on motorsport. If you’re a fan of Formula 1, Formula E, Sportscars, Touring Cars and Rally then this is one for you. Listen now and find out more here – press release article on the website? Listen now player?

TikTok testing podcaster feature

With Insider Intelligence predicting podcast advertising spend estimated to hit $2.25 billion in 2023 (link to https://www.insiderintelligence.com/content/podcast-advertising-5-charts), it’s no surprise that the social media giant is experimenting with podcasting on it’s platform. The new feature would allow users to listen to a video’s audio while using another app on their device. Time will tell if it is rolled out to all users.

Wondering what your strategy should be with Tik Tok? Voiceworks Director of Sport, Jim Salveson, has 5 tips to get you started.

Link – https://podcast.sport-social.co.uk/are-tiktok-entering-the-social-audio-war-and-how-to-market-your-podcast-on-tiktok/

Sound Business – What does 2023 hold for podcasting and digital audio

In case you missed it, over the last few weeks the Voiceworks Team have been busy predicting what might be coming down the line in 2023 for the podcasting and audio industry. They covered everything from advertising and revenue, content and audiences and the podcast industry as a whole.

Link – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/what-does-2023-hold-for-podcasting-and-digital-audio/id1594822206?i=1000596017987

Six Nations grand slam winner Sam Warbuton joins Sport Social

Ahead of this year’s Six Nations getting underway this weekend, former Wales and British & Irish Lions rugby captain Sam Warburton has teamed up with our friends at the Crowd Network to launch his new podcast, ‘Captains’.

Join Sam as he gives listeners the inside story of how the most successful teams come together, grow and ultimately – win. Listen now to the latest episodes on the Sport Social Podcast Network

Are TikTok entering the Social Audio war? (and how to market your podcast on TikTok).

Many have tried, and many have failed. Now it looks like TikTok might be able to pick up the challenge of integrating podcasting into a social media platform.

For some reason, to date, audio has been too much of a challenge for the social spaces biggest players… Facebook have reversed out of their audio strategy, Twitter seem reluctant to develop some promising plans around Podcasting and Greenroom seems to have faded away after a promising start, but are TikTok in a position to buck that trend?

The buzziest of all social platforms is currently testing a new “podcast” feature that allows its users to continue listening to audio from within the app once they have navigated away to other destinations.

As it stands, there has been no official word from TikTok on plans for podcasting, but rather the “hidden” feature was discovered by blogger Emily Skvarc who unwittingly stumbled across what appeared to be testing of the new feature.

READ MORE: https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2023/01/tiktok-silently-tests-podcast-tool-that.html

The lack of official word from TikTok means we can only speculate as to what the platform’s plans might be, however given the prominence it gives to audio and music, you can see how it might be in a more advantageous position to take advantage than some of its social competitors.

My (purely speculative) view is that we are unlikely to see any kind of full podcast integration into the app, such as the ability to ingest RSS feeds. Instead, we will see TikTok introducing longer video content which can be tagged as “Podcasts”, allowing users to consume the audio part of that content with or without the video accompaniment. As a result, this will blur the lines between video and podcasting even further, and produce a similar podcasting proposition to YouTube.

One advantage TikTok does have in this space is there seems to be a strong synergy between its user base and that audience’s interest in podcasts, with the platform proving a very effective marketing tool for shows looking to reach their 3.5 billion users!

If you are looking to leverage TikTok to market your podcast audience, here are my top 5 tips:

1. Share highlights… but not just highlights

Show highlights are great for promoting your content (after all, it’s what you do best) but mix up the content. Provide behind-the-scenes insight on your show or additional content that’s not discoverable anywhere else. This is your opportunity to build a brand and personality around your podcast.

2. No camera, no problem

Filming podcasts is becoming more and more the norm, but not having access to a camera, or just feeling reluctant to get in front of one, needn’t be a barrier to utilising TikTok as a platform. Apps like Headliner can help you optimise audio content for video platforms such as TikTok and help you publish content without your face.

3. Know your niche

TikTok has come a long way from its lip syncing days and is now establishing itself as an endless source of information sought by people who want to know more about a myriad of topics (just see the sucess of BookTok). If your podcast focuses on a specific niche, then own that niche. Share your skills, knowledge, tips, and experience in your specialist area to build your own niche-specific TikTok audience… and make sure you use the right hashtags so people can find it too. #PodcastTip.

4. Be a tease

Anyone who has ever worked in (podcasting’s big brother) radio will know the value of a tease. You needn’t give away all your content on TikTok to get those views. A sneak peek at something that’s coming? The end of a great story? The answer to a brilliant question? Think about what content you can post on the platform to entice the audience to search for your podcast elsewhere.

5. Engage

The key to all social media is interaction. TikTok, like other platforms, is not linear. It is best when you engage with those who engage with your content. To really make TikTok work for you, you need to become a part of the community. Reply to users in your comment section, reach out to creators making similar content, generally explore and have fun. It will help your organic growth.

November 2022 – Team Talk

Welcome to the November edition of Team Talk with all the latest news from the Sport Social Podcast Network. 

After months of build-up, we are just days away from the first match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Before that though, we’ve got plenty of other sports and competitions to get stuck into, including:

  • T20 Cricket World Cup in Australia
  • Men’s Rugby League World Cup 2021 in England
  • Women’s Rugby Union World Cup 2021 in New Zealand
  • 2022 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool

Big events in the sporting calendar can mean even more ears on your podcasts so please continue to make sure you are placing your ad markers in your podcasts, so that we can continue to help you make the most of your commercial inventory. For any assistance with this, or for other enquiries, please contact the team here. Link to podcast@sport-social.co.uk email.

We also celebrated reaching 4 million downloads across the network this month for the first time. Congratulations and a big thank you to you for helping us make this happen!

Meet Stefan Doyle, the new Head of the Sport Social Podcast Network

We have a new face leading the network into 2023 and beyond in Stefan Doyle. Some of you may have had the chance to catch up with him directly already, but for those of you who haven’t, we asked him some questions to find out more about who he is and how he sees the podcasting world developing next year.

Sport Social cover the Red Bull Street Style World Final

Working in partnership with the World Freestyle Football Association, the Sport Social team flew to Croatia in October to produce 6 special episodes on the All You Need Is A Ball podcast around the world final.

There were plenty of incredible flicks and tricks on display at the Pula Arena. Check out the Sport Social Instagram account here to see the skills for yourself and don’t forget to listen to the podcasts here too.


Premier League champion joins the network

Four-time Premier League winner Brian McClair has joined the Sport Social Podcast Network this month. The former Manchester United forward talks about anything and everything on “Life With Brian: The Brian McClair Podcast”. You can catch up on the latest episodes here

Sound Business – Should my podcast be visual content too?

Do you create a video version of your podcast to reach extra eyes (and ears) or do you focus purely on creating an amazing audio product? It’s a debate that always gets podcasters talking and with the recent launch of YouTube Podcasts in the US, the lure of video is greater than ever.

On the latest episode of Sound Busienss; Jim Salveson speaks to podcast strategist Evo Terra and discusses the pro’s and con’s of adding video to your current content offering – and the questions you need to ask before you do.

Prime time for podcast listening revealed

In the UK, the MIDAS Summer 2022 survey has been published by RAJAR. It suggests a new high of 19% of adults (10.5m) listening to podcasts every week (for a total of 69m hours). The peak time to listen to a podcast is around 9am. Is your upload schedule taking this into consideration? You can read more from the report here


Sport Podcasting Awards 2023

Nominations are now open for the global Sports Podcast Awards, which celebrate the very best of audio entertainment with creators around the world encouraged to enter.

There are 23 categories at this year’s awards, with nominations closing in mid-November and you can find out more here. Plus, as part of the Sport Social Podcast Network you are entitled to 50% off your entry fee!


For information on how to access the discount or if you would like the team to look over any application and give you advice, just drop an email to podcast@sport-social.co.uk and we’ll be in touch!

Team Talk October 2022 edition

Welcome to the October edition of Team Talk with all the latest news from the Sport Social Podcast Network.
It’s been a big month for the Sport Social Podcast Network with several new senior hires joining the team. Michael Holt has joined as Director of Commercial Partnerships and will be helping our podcasters get the very best deals for advertising and sponsorship whilst Stefan Doyle joins as our new Head of Sport Social and will continue to develop all elements of our customer service and platforms.

You can read more about the hires here

Are you “On-Trend” with a Shorter Podcast?

It’s official. Podcast episodes are getting shorter. A new report from Rephonic has revealed that shows over one hour in length are getting less and less common whilst the average length of a podcast in now only 36 mins long. The research also showed that the “most successful” shows release a new 37 minute podcast every 5.3 days. Read more here.

Beef and George join the Team 

We’re delighted to welcome two brand new big name podcasts from Crowd Network to the Sport Social Podcast Network. Beef’s Golf Club (hosted by Andrew Beef Johnson and John Robins) and George Groves Boxing Club with former World Champion boxer George Groves. Welcome to the team! Explore more.

What does the BBC’s axing of the Football Classifieds say about Sport Audio?

Now that the tabloid fuelled anger around the axing of the Football Classified has died down, our Director of Sport, Jim Salveson takes a look at the decision and what the move says about the ever-changing world of sports audio and the future of sport podcasting. Read here

Twitter Podcasts are Here

If you’ve seen the news about Twitter’s first steps into the podcasting space you are no doubt asking “what’s it all about” and “how can I get involved”. On the latest episode of Voiceworks: Sound Business Jim Salveson speaks to podcast expert Adam Bowie about his experiences with the new platform and what the social media giant’s plans may be for the future. Listen here