After an initial period characterized by experimentation, amateurism, small audiences, technological difficulties, and scarce funding, podcasting is now fully consolidated. The aim of this paper is to analyze the characteristics of the Spanish podcast sphere: its structural, personal, thematic, formal, economic, and dissemination aspects. To this end, a content analysis of 21 variables was applied to the 206 programs that attained the highest popularity in the general rankings of Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and iVoox during the first quarter of 2021. Along the structural dimension, the results reveal the preponderance of digital-native podcasts in comparison with previously broadcast podcasts, and of podcasts promoted by radio stations or those associated with networks over independent ones. Regarding the personnel involved, programs produced by professionals from the media or other cultural industries are more popular than those produced by amateurs, while those presented by men are more popular than those presented by women. Regarding their themes, content related to mystery and/or crime, history, entertainment, and emotional well-being predominates. In the formal sphere, the majority of programs are exclusively audio programs, produced weekly and in Spanish, with a limited presence of the other co-official languages in Spain. In terms of funding, the most common situation is production by media groups or podcast networks, followed by monetization on YouTube and offering additional services. Based on all this, the main conclusion of this study is that podcasting in Spain has abandoned the democratizing potential attributed to it by some theorists and researchers in its beginnings to become embedded in a largely commercial logic.

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Published on 11/09/22
Accepted on 11/09/22
Submitted on 11/09/22

Volume 31, Issue 5, 2022
DOI: 10.3145/epi.2022.sep.05
Licence: Other

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