Here is why the podcast revolution has not happened in Europe yet

European podcasts are waiting for a boost and it may come from Google.


During the last episode of the Check Your Facts episode we have discussed why are podcasts in Europe still pretty under the radar. I mean, it is not like podcasts in US are huge, but people are familiar with them.

Based on the Edison Research numbers 24% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month, and 40% have ever listened to one. Unfortunately I could not find any stats for Europe.

But here are a few things to think about.

1) Best podcasts out there are US based

Just try to google “best podcasts in 2017” (or 2016) and you will find various lists, lists and lists… Obviously the top podcasts out there in English are US based.

2) Apple has started the podcast revolution and carried it till now

If you ever wondered and googled where the word podcast comes from, you have surely come up with the answer that is was inspired by Apple's iPod. If you read this blog you will get the brief history of podcasting and why Apple has been so far a big part of it.

3) Every iPhone user has a preinstalled podcast app

In 2014 the Apple Podcasts app was built-in to iOS 8. Which meant every iPhone user had a direct door to the podcast realm. One tap and you could choose from thousands of podcasts out there.

4) Europe is largely Android based

70% of smartphones in Europe use Android. iPhones make up roughly 1/4 of the smartphone market (52% in the US).

5 ) Podcasts on Google Play Music are not yet available in Europe

I have spoken to people form different European countries and noone seems to have podcast in Google Play Music available. It has been like this for months.


6) Europe does not have a common language

I know, people speak English, but! not everyone in Europe speaks English. There are podcasts being made in Europe, but they are being made for local/regional/national audiences. I would love to listen to a German podcast, but I do not speak and understand well German. The same with Poland a Polish podcasts or Ukrainian. You get my point. The podcast scene is too fragmented.

7 ) Europe did not have its Serial breakthrough moment

I wonder if anything like the Serial podcast revolution can happen in Europe. I think not, but then I hope for something like it.

So, where does it leave us?

Well, at this point I think Europe is waiting for Google to finally grant its users podcasts access. Why does it takes months, I do not know. There is no official answer from Google, just a vague check back later for updates.

Of course this is going to be step one at this point. More podcasts need to be founded, more news organisations and public broadcasters need to jump on the podcast train (for example: Slovak national radio has exactly one official podcast).

With more institutional podcasts more independent ones will follow and perhaps a EU-based Gimlet media will be founded.

Anyway, for now, we are waiting for the European podcast revolution to begin.

If you want to listen to the Check Your Facts podcast I and Marc Biskup do weekly with journalists and media movers round Europe and beyond, head over to SoundCloud and 🎧 listen to the latest episode, where we lament over the podcast situation in Europe, but also talk about storytelling.