In the five years we’ve been running the Publisher Podcast Awards, a great deal has changed in the industry. Publishers have become a great deal more confident at podcasting, from innovative launches to daily news podcasts and world-class docu(podu)mentaries.

Every year the judges – many who have been with us since the beginning – have said it’s got harder and harder to choose winners, with the top podcasts in each category separated by merely a mark or two.

From my own experience coordinating the awards, drawing up the shortlists and adjudicating in the case of a couple of very close categories, here are some of the things I’ve noticed about the state of publisher podcasts in 2024.

Independent publishers are smashing it

We can all point to award ceremonies where even if smaller organisations make the shortlist, they’ll always lose out to the bigger publishers. Our mark scheme has been refined over five years to ensure this doesn’t happen by default. A vast proportion of marks are given to strategy: how a podcast fits in with the wider publication, whether it’s met goals and objectives, as well as growth and commercial attempts, so it takes more than just a slick show to wow our judges.

That also means independent and smaller publishers who can demonstrate the impact a podcast has had on them can be in with a chance, even if they haven’t had millions of listens or a team of thirty producers working on it. As a result, we unearthed some real gems on this year’s shortlist.


  • Deep Dive: Exploring Organized Crime: The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime brings you stories and investigations from the global criminal underworld.
  • Film Stories with Simon Brew: A podcast that looks to dig into the stories behind popular movies.From troubled productions, to rights issues, to difficulties with release to films nearly falling apart, the podcast will be looking at the stories that don’t always seem apparent when watching a movie!
  • Fonds, Greater Govanhill Magazine: Stories of people through objects they love. Exposed over eight minutes, people from around Govanhill, Glasgow share stories of migration, transformation, love, and resilience. 

Video podcasts have gone to the next level

We introduced the Best Video Podcast category in 2023 as we could see some early experiments in it. That first year was promising: we had three shortlisted publishers each with early-stage video strategies and some interesting results.

This year, the shortlist was packed with eight top-quality publisher podcasts, some using audiograms and short clips, some with full studio-quality video podcasts. 

I’m amazed how far video podcasts have come in the past 18 months, and how swiftly these publishers are moving to learn and adapt in a landscape which, frankly, we still don’t know much about.


  • The Best Ever, Radio Times: Strategically integrating video into a multi-dimensional strategy for The Best Ever has significantly elevated the podcast’s presence and success, far surpassing expectations.
  • Claret and Blue, Reach: This podcast has had a channel alongside it since launch in 2019 but has seen rapid growth in the past two years, and is now one of Reach’s leading examples of best practice in video podcasting.
  • The New Statesman Podcast, The New Statesman: Investment in a video and audio studio setup means the NS can quickly turn around full video podcast episodes, which now form the backbone of their multimedia strategy.

There’s been some real innovation in partner podcasts…

 …but full commercial strategies have yet to mature. Our Best Partner Podcast category attracted a brilliant mix of podcasts from all sorts of publishers (and partners!), with individual entries showing innovation and variety in how these are being approached. 

But for Best Commercial Strategy, only one of the entries met our high quality standards, with others being patchy on detail and strategic impact. Maybe that’s just who has chosen to enter, but we usually find entries correlate with wider industry trends.

What that indicates to me is that for many publishers, even if individual shows or efforts are yielding good results, there is a lack of confidence in integrating podcasts fully as part of a commercial strategy.

Coming up: We’ll be kicking off next season of the podcast with a deep-dive interview with the Evening Standard’s Commercial Editor Simon Kurs. He’ll discuss creating a commercial campaign with a podcast at its heart, and how a 360 approach to podcast revenue maximises success. Follow the Media Voices Podcast on your platform of choice, or make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter.

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