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Listening to a new podcast while wandering along country roads or through the woods at lunchtime has been one of the unexpected pleasures of lockdown.

Whether a laugh out loud performance from a favourite stand up, a guide to mindfulness or a current affairs show, they have definitely helped keep our spirits up and our minds engaged.

And it seems that we are not alone, according to the You Gov International Media Report for 2021.

It says podcasts were one of the big media growth areas over the last year with listenership rising from 27% of the population to 33% in 2020.  Commentators had speculated that less time spent commuting would have an impact on figures, but this wasn’t the case as they became the soundtrack to many daily activities.

Radio listenership declined slightly in 2020 as people avoided non-essential journeys and no longer tuned in on their car radios but many instead listened to their daily doses of Chris Evans, Ken Bruce’s pop quiz, the official chart with Scott Mills or Hometime with Bush and Richie on smartphones and smart speakers instead.

Unsurprisingly less time spent on trains and in city centre shops did accelerate the relentless decline of print magazine and newspaper readership which fell by double digits, year-on-year. While a glossy interiors magazine purchase was a real treat during the dark days of the pandemic personally, clearly not everyone felt the same.

Digital readership of both fared better with news from a tablet or mobile app rivalling print as a favoured source. Most people surveyed however said their top source for news was television and radio.

Usage of social networks didn’t change between 2019 and 2020 and remained at 84%. Facebook continued to dominate the social media landscape, towering over its rivals at 72%, followed by Instagram at 38%, Twitter at 30% and Snapchat and LinkedIn at 17%.

Pinterest followed at 14%, YouTube at 9%, TikTok at 8%, Reddit 7% and Tumblr 2%.

Surprisingly that most traditional of marketing channels – outdoor advertising remains a powerful medium for brands with 33% of people saying that they had seen a billboard or bus-stop poster in the week they were interviewed. While the world feels very different now at least some things remain reliably the same….

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