Advanced Television

Record quarter for BBC Sounds

February 1, 2022

Data from the BBC shows there were a total of 364 million plays of all content across radio, podcasts and music mixes on BBC Sounds last quarter and an average weekly audience of 3.8 million across the app, website and voice activated devices.

The Christmas Sounds series proved popular last quarter, contributing to a record 5.2 million plays of all music mixes on BBC Sounds between October and December 2021.

There was also a record peak of 4 million weekly users in December, as many people tuned in live to the Today Programme and listened to Newscast on BBC Sounds as news of the Omicron variant and booster programme were announced.

Plays for on-demand radio and podcasts reached 162 million and, remaining steady for the quarter, 54 per cent of overall plays on BBC Sounds were for live content and 65 per cent of all listening hours were live.

On Demand Radio

Listeners tuned in to comedy as the winter months drew in, with Andy Hamilton’s sitcom Harry’s Game and Mark Steel’s In Town among the most listened to on-demand radio programmes last quarter, following the Archers, In Our Time and Desert Island Discs.

England’s Ashes campaign brought younger listeners to Test Match Special’s expert coverage from Australia, and with viral interviews featuring global superstars including Adele and Lady Gaga, Breakfast With Greg James remained one of the most popular on-demand radio programmes with younger audiences, following Radio 1 Anthems.


Things Fell Apart by Jon Ronson was critically acclaimed and the most popular new podcast in the quarter, with listeners drawn in by the human stories from the history of the culture wars. Another new podcast, Uncanny, from the team behind The Battersea Poltergeist including Danny Robins, was also really popular this quarter. Newscast and You’re Dead To Me topped the chart, with all four appearing in the top ten for all adults and under 35s. Match Of The Day: Top Ten topped the list for number of under 35 listeners.

The straight talking podcast Pressed had the highest proportion of listeners under 35 for the second quarter running, followed by the enduring 6 Degrees With Jamie And Spencer. New series’ The Footballer’s Football Podcast and Legends Fall In The Making also proved popular with younger listeners on BBC Sounds last quarter.


The new Christmas Music series was the most listened to mix last quarter, contributing to a record 5.2 million plays across all music mixes on BBC Sounds. The new series of Cillian Murphy’s Limited Edition was one of the most played music shows between October and December, along with the Pace Setter and Mindful mixes to ring in the new year’s resolutions.

BBC podcasts and radio programmes on third party platforms

A total of 257 million global podcast downloads across the world during this quarter, Global News Podcast (BBC World Service), The Documentary (BBC World Service) and In Our Time (Radio 4) once again proved the most popular.

Categories: Articles, Digital Radio, Research

Tags: , , , , , , , ,