But Dino Sofos, the programme’s executive producer, indicated on Twitter to Matt Deegan, host of The Media Podcast, that downloads have “grown rapidly over time”. This suggests The News Agents’ average listenership is now significantly larger than 130,000.
The podcast sector is notoriously opaque and listenership figures are rarely released by publishers. The News Agents regularly ranks near the top of Chartable’s Apple Podcasts list alongside The Rest is Politics, which is hosted by Rory Stewart, the former Tory MP, and Alastair Campbell, the former Labour spin doctor. Goalhanger Podcasts, which produces The Rest is Politics, recently told The New Statesman that its flagship podcast recorded 4.98 million downloads in September.
The News Agents launched at the end of August and releases episodes every weekday. Its interviewees have included Gary Lineker, Piers Morgan, Jeremy Clarkson, Angela Rayner and Tony Blair.
Sofos, who produces the podcast with his company, Persephonica, said: “I’ve launched podcasts before but none have connected with so many listeners as quickly as this. It’s clear that people want to consume news differently, and The News Agents is leading the way.”
Sopel, formerly the BBC’s North America editor, said: “When we started we had no idea whether this would crash or fly. Over 10 million downloads later it seems like we can now take off our seatbelts – and think about what we can do to take it to the next level.”
Maitlis, formerly of Newsnight, said: “A big thank you to our loyal lovely engaged listeners for giving us an extraordinary start to a brand new venture.”
And Goodall, Newsnight’s former policy editor, said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled with how The News Agents has been received by the audience. Across our podcast and video output, it shows what huge appetite there is for political news told in new and different ways. And this is just the start.”
Email email@example.com to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog