Skip to main content

2016 will be remembered for many (not so great) things. Yet despite its shortcomings, 2016 was also the year podcast growth exceeded expectations and the industry came into a life of its own.

Influential bloggers and industry experts have been gravitating to this form of media over the past couple of years and since it’s become easier to download and listen on the move, 64% of podcasts are now being consumed on a smart phone or tablet. 2016 has shown the results of these trends and monthly podcast listenership has increased 75% since 2013. As we reported in our last podcast related post, podcast listening has also increased by 23% between 2015 and 2016.

Whilst 2017 seems much more hopeful than the year we’ve just left behind, January can often be the time where we start off with good intentions but may slightly lose our way in the process. So, to embrace the podcast growth, we at Hook Research have pulled together some of the most popular podcasts of the last year, covering all those subjects that are at the top of our resolution lists…

Motivation for life and business

The Lively Show is hosted by Tess Lively, an entrepreneur and business coach who helps individuals achieve their goals through living out their intentions and values. With over 5 million downloads, she interviews guests covering topics such as business, careers, relationships, and wellness, discovering their journeys and outlining the steps they took towards a happier life.

The School of Greatness is yet another brilliantly motivating podcast, ranking in the top 100 of the iTunes charts across the globe and reaching No.23 in America. Host Lewis Howes delivers episodes that vary between presenter-led episodes and interviews with inspirational guests. His guests include influential bloggers, authors, and big players in business, all focusing on the lessons they’ve learnt in creating successful, fulfilling careers.

Learning something new

Currently ranking No.3 in the UK iTunes chart, TedTalks always appeals to a wide array of listeners, ranging from those keen to expand their knowledge to individuals looking for tools to change their lives. Whether they’re touching upon human behaviour and society in episodes on gay marriage and PTSD, or covering science and technology while discussing artificial intelligence and life beyond earth, this is a podcast for the curious.

Slightly more random than TedTalks, Stuff You Should Know will help you astound your friends with facts on sleep paralysis, wooly mammoths, portaloos and the history of soda. You’ll be surprised how much there is to know and also, how much you’re actually interested in. Ranking No.5 in the US and No.7 in the UK iTunes Chart, its clear lessons in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes completely ordinary appeal to us all.

Podcast Growth - Hook Research


The Nutrition Diva delivers information in accessible, short chunks, demystifying nutrition and helping listeners to make informed decisions about the food they eat. Monica Reinagel’s podcast has consistently made the top 100 since its release date, and giving that she always offers a well considered and fact based option at the end of each episode, we think the reliability of her information that helps make the show such a success.

Half Size Me has an impressive 256 episodes in its archive and is currently no.21 on the Fitness and Nutrition podcasts chart. Focusing on real weight loss by real people, the show aims to motivate listeners through changing perspectives on healthy eating, weight loss and fitness. It does just that – the incredibly successful podcast has a wealth of committed listeners who turn to it for guidance and inspiration.


If 2016 was the year for podcast growth, 2015 was the year for mindfulness.

Countless books and apps hit physical and virtual stores and the trend has now made its way into podcasting, with Mindfulness in 8 Weeks: 20 Minutes a Day program reaching N0.7 in the iTunes UK downloads chart. The podcast provides an accessible approach to learning the practice of mindfulness and reducing stress levels, whilst living more in the present. The course also has a book to accompany the podcast and you can opt to do longer sessions if that suits your lifestyle.

Sadly, Radio Headspace has been on a bit of a break, but we’re waiting with baited breath for its return and it’s seems so are the other listeners who are keeping it in the top 100 on iTunes. The podcast, belonging to the highly successful mindfulness app, Headspace, includes an archive that covers not just meditation, but neuroscience, the benefits of kindness, living without time, depression and a huge spectrum covering the human behaviours and emotion.

Podcast growth heading into 2017

With so much podcast growth in 2016, there’s plenty to look forward to in the coming year. Make sure you follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss out on any trends in the industry!

Each month, Hook's experts create a roundup of hot takes and insights into the Kids and Media industries... for free!

This information will never be shared with third parties.

Each month, Hook's experts create a roundup of hot takes and insights into the Kids and Media industries... for free!

This information will never be shared with third parties.