in podcasting

S-Town could be the most popular podcast of all time

The New York Times has some statistics on downloads for “S-Town,” the new podcast by the creators of “This American Life” and “Serial”:

In its first week of release, listeners downloaded episodes of “S-Town” 16 million times. It took eight weeks for the first season of “Serial” to reach that number, and four weeks for the second season to hit it, according to numbers provided by Serial Productions. “S-Town” is the first series released under the Serial Productions banner — the outfit is helmed by the makers of “Serial” and “This American Life” — and by podcast standards, it’s a blockbuster […]

In just over a week, “S-Town” has attracted 1.8 million subscribers to its podcast feed. “No one’s done that,” Mr. Quah said.

Other stats revealed: “Serial” now has a combined 267 million download count(!), while APM’s “In The Dark” true crime podcast has 6.6 million total.

Some thoughts on these stats:

  • I remember when “Serial” was first released, there was much excitement about how massive its download counts were. It was, at the time, the fastest growing podcast (in terms of subscribers) ever. These “S-Town” numbers seem to indicate that it will outgrow “Serial.” That being said, “S-Town” was released all at once while “Serial” grew its audience (and buzz) by releasing episodes week to week. We’ll see whether “S-Town” can continue this trajectory.
  • I’d love to know the downloads per episode over time, which I think gives a far better sense of how quickly a podcast is growing (or not).
  • I’ve listened to the first few episodes of “S-Town” and it is excellent. One of the best shows I’ve ever listened to, and certainly that rare show that is worth the hype.

You can download/subscribe/listen to the “S-Town” podcast here.