Podcasts have surged in popularity over the last few years, thanks to a few factors working in favor of the audio news industry, like the increasing popularity of the smart home speaker market.
More than a third of the international respondents in the Reuters Institute's latest Digital News Report - 2,000 from each of the listed countries - said that they had listened to a podcast in the month leading up to the survey. As this chart from Statista shows, the 2,000 US respondents came in at close to the global average, while South Korea had a higher rate, possibly due to more smartphone penetration and social media sharing. The report shows that the percentage of podcast listeners in Hong Kong and Taiwan were similarly high.
The Reuters Institute's report said that the relatively low numbers in Europe could have to do with the already-established popularity of the audio news format in some countries; news broadcasters might not feel the need to leave their desk in favor of a podcast. It added that it could be a translation issue: "In the UK, for example, much listening comes via the popular BBC iPlayer radio app but on-demand streams and downloads accessed this way are not labeled specifically as podcasts and may not be understood as such in surveys such as ours."