Growth for podcasts in the Nordics – find listening data here

Young woman leaning agains a wall listening to her mobile phone via earplugs
Photo: Skandinav Bildbyrå
Podcasts are steadily gaining a bigger audience in the Nordic region. The most avid listeners are found among people aged 15–45, among the highly educated and in the big cities. This article guides you to more data and interesting results in the separate Nordic countries.
 | 10 December 2020

There is clearly an increasing interest for podcasts in the Nordic region, yet we can’t compile any Nordic statistics. Instead, we offer this overview of national podcast sources and data about the listening in individual countries.

Focus lies on Denmark, Norway and Sweden, where similar surveys about people’s listening habits are conducted as well as technical measurements of individual podcasts.

Nevertheless, two Finnish surveys are presented at the end of the article, followed by the Digital News Report with podcast data for Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. For Iceland, no data are currently available.

The surveys and reports in the article are recurring and the results are at least to some extent Open Access.

Three categories of measurements

Publicly funded surveys (Open Access)

In Norway and Sweden, the annual Media Barometer surveys generate data on people's media habits over time, including podcasts. Both measure media reach ("Did you listen yesterday?” etc.) and are nationally representative.

In Norway, the survey is carried out by Statistics Norway and in Sweden by Nordicom at the University of Gothenburg, with funding from the Ministry of Culture in the respective countries.

In Finland, Statistics Finland's annual ICT survey reports on podcast listening over a period of three months.

The results are openly available through reports and databases.

Surveys from commercial research institutes

Podcast listening is measured by the research company Kantar in surveys of Internet habits (Denmark, Norway) and local radio listening (Denmark, Sweden).

The surveys deal with listening habits (“How often do you listen?”), and are nationally representative, but vary in terms of age groups, survey methods and whether the results apply to the entire population or the Internet population.

In Finland, Finnpanel asks about podcasts in the Finnish National Radio Survey, but presents podcasts' share of listening time only.

Complete reports are for purchase, but some data are included in open presentations from companies or in reports from authorities and organisations.

The industry’s technical measurements

In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, technical measurements of downloads or streams of podcast programmes are conducted, based on the IAB podcast measurement standards.

The metrics – reported online on a weekly basis – function as the industry currency in the respective countries. Behind the measurements are the industry’s major players, but the lists are open to all podcast publishers.

Find the data: Country by country overviews


Kantar Gallup's Lokalradio Index and Digital Life survey

Kantar Gallup in Denmark asks about podcasts in two surveys: Kantar Gallup Lokalradio Index, which measures listening habits in the Danish population aged 12 and older through telephone interviews, and Kantar Gallup Digital Life, which examines digital habits among Internet users aged 15–75 through an online panel.

Some of the data are presented in annual open media reports from the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces and DR Audience Research Department.

Podcast listening 2019, some results:

  • 12 per cent of the Danish population (aged 12+) listened to podcasts on a daily basis in 2019, while 24 per cent listened every week.
  • More than half of the population listened to at least one podcast during the year (54% in 2019, up from 49% in 2018). Among 12–34-year-olds, 73–74 per cent stated that they had listened to podcasts, compared with 15 per cent among people aged 71 and older.
  • Among Danish Internet users 15–75 years old, 19 per cent had listened to a podcast from the public service organisation DR "during the last seven days". 11 per cent had listened to a podcast from Radio24syv (private public service radio which closed on 31 October 2019), 14 per cent on another Danish podcast and 10 per cent on a foreign podcast.

Source: Data from Kantar Gallup Lokalradio Index 2018 and 2019 (3+4 quarters) and from Kantar Gallup Digital Life 2019, processed by the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces in the report Media Development in Denmark 2020 (published in June 2020).

Podcast Index

The Podcast Index, launched in June 2019, is Denmark's official list of Danish podcasts. The index is based on a technical measurement, providing data on the number of downloads and streams per podcast.

The industry partners behind the measurement are the Association of Danish Media, DR, Bauer Media, Berlingske Media, JP/Politikens Hus and Radio4. The list is open to all publishers of podcasts.


Statistics Norway: Norwegian Media Barometer

The Norwegian Media Barometer, launched in 1991, is an annual survey shedding light on people's consumption of different types of media. It is conducted by Statistics Norway through telephone interviews in the population aged 9–79. Data for podcasts are included as of 2016.

Data from the survey are openly available in Statistics Norway's Media Barometer report and database, as well as in medianorway's online database.

Statistics Norway presents podcast listening among the population that listens to audio media, while medianorway presents data on podcast listening in the entire population (data below).

Podcast listening 2019, some results:

  • Daily listening to podcasts almost doubled from 2018 to 2019, from 8 to 14 per cent of the population aged 9–79.
  • In the age groups between 16 and 44 years old, just over 20 per cent listened to podcasts on an average day, while the proportion in other age groups was below 10 per cent.
  • The higher the education, the more podcast listening. Around two of ten people with a university or college education listened to podcasts on an average day: 21 per cent among those who had studied four years or more, 18 per cent among those who had studied up to four years. (For education, data refer to 16–79-year-olds.)
  • Podcast is an urban medium. Listening is most common in parts of the country where the big cities are located – in Oslo/Akershus and in Vestlandet (with the city of Bergen), 17 and 16 per cent listened daily in 2019, compared with 9 per cent in the sparsely populated north (Nordnorge).

Source: Norwegian Media Barometer data retrieved from medianorway's database (recalculations to the entire population are made by medianorway).

Kantar Norway's Interbuss survey

Kantar Norway measures podcast listening in its Interbuss survey, dealing with Internet habits. The surveys are conducted every quarter with 1,000 interviews via its online panel and reflect the Internet population in Norway aged 15 and older.

Data on basic podcast use are available in Kantar’s annual presentation of media usage trends, Rikets medietilstand, which can be downloaded from Kantars' website in Norwegian.

Podcast listening 2019, some results:

  • Of the Internet population, 13 per cent listened to podcasts daily in 2019. Almost a third, 30 per cent, listened to podcasts at least once a week, while 45 per cent listened at least once a month.
  • Since 2016, podcast listening in the Internet population has almost doubled.

Source: Data from Rikets Medietilstand 2020 (January 2020). Data refers to quarter 4 for 2019 and quarter 3 for previous years.


The Podtoppen, launched in January 2020, is Norway's official top list of Norwegian podcasts. It is a technical measurement of the number of streams and downloads for podcasts.

The survey is owned and operated by a steering group with representatives from five Norwegian media houses –NRK, Schibsted Media Group, P4 Group, Bauer Media and Moderne Media – but more platforms have joined the list. Kantar Norway has the task of technically collecting, compiling, quality assuring and publishing the measurement every week.


Nordicom's Media Barometer

The Swedish Media Barometer is an annual survey on the consumption of different types of media in the population aged 9–79 (from 2020: 9–85). The survey, starting in 1979, is conducted by Nordicom and the results are presented in an Open Access report.

The survey has measured “listening to podcast/timeshift radio” since 2018. (From 2013 to 2017, podcast was combined with online live radio.)

Up to and including 2018, the survey was conducted with telephone interviews, but from 2019 onwards, a mixed collection method is used with web surveys and follow-up telephone interviews for those who have not been heard from. Due to the change of method, no time series are reported in the Media Barometer 2019.

Podcast listening 2019, some results:

  • In 2019, 19 per cent of Swedes aged 9–79 listened to podcasts/timeshift radio on an average day.
  • The highest daily reach was in the age groups between 15 and 44 years old with 29 per cent, the lowest was in the age group 65–79 years old with 6 per cent daily listeners.
  • 25 per cent of city dwellers listened to podcasts on an average day, compared to 15 per cent in rural areas.
  • Education plays a role: among the 25–79-year-olds with a university education, 21 per cent listened daily, compared with 13 per cent among those without university education.

Kantar Sifo's local radio survey

Kantar Sifo asks about podcast listening in its local radio survey, conducted via telephone interviews in the population aged 9–79.

2019 data from the survey are available through the annual report on media usage from the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority.

Podcast listening 2019, some results:

  • In 2019, 15 per cent of the population aged 12–79 listened to podcasts daily, while 32 per cent listened for a week.
  • Age makes a difference. In the 20–34 age group, 30 per cent listened to podcasts daily, compared with 3 per cent in the 65–79 age group.

Source: Data from Kantar Sifo’s local radio survey week 1–52, 2019, as presented in the report on media usage from the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority (see below in Swedish).


The Poddindex, established in late 2017, is a validated currency tool for all podcasts connected to the list. The index is based on a technical measurement of the number of streams and downloads of podcasts.

Poddindex has a technical committee consisting of representatives from radio companies, distribution platforms, the industry association Sveriges Annonsörer and Kantar Sifo. From 2020 onwards, Poddindex is included in Kantar Sifo's surveys.


Statistics Finland: The population's use of information and communication technology

Statistics Finland's annual survey on use of information and communication technologies is part of the harmonised European Statistics published in the Eurostat database. The survey is a sample survey that includes the population aged 16–89. Data refer to the first three months of the year.

Data collection is done during the spring and summer via telephone interviews and online and is published during the autumn. The latest statistics were published in November 2020.

Podcast listening 2020, some results:

  • In 2020, 30 per cent of the population listened to podcasts during the first three months of the year. This was an increase from 26 per cent in 2019.
  • The most avid listeners are people in the age groups between 16–24 and 25–34 years old, of which almost six of ten have listened to podcasts during three months (58% and 56%, respectively).

Finnpanel: Nationella radioundersökningen (NRU)

The research company Finnpanel conducts the official radio surveys in Finland on behalf of the radio industry (diary survey).

The report Radio Listening in Finland 2019 shows that podcast listening accounted for 2 per cent of the total time that the population 9-years-old and older spent on audio media (radio had 79%, Spotify 11%, YouTube Music 4%, and other listening 4%).

Nordic podcast data in Digital News Report

Information about podcast listening is also included in the annual Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which covers 40 countries.

The survey is conducted online among people aged 18 and older. (As the survey’s focus is on news consumption, the survey sample consists of people who indicate they have consumed news during the past months.)

  • For the Nordic countries, in Norway and Sweden, 36 per cent have listened to podcasts “during the last month” in 2019, followed by Finland with 29 per cent and Denmark with 28 per cent.
  • For Denmark, Finland and Norway, there are also detailed national reports based on the survey, written by Nordic media researchers.

Eva Harrie

Topic :