Consumers are tuning into digital audio differently now that home is the new office. As fewer listeners commute due to the coronavirus pandemic, downloads for podcasts are declining. But there are bright spots, as genres such as science, cooking, health, news and kids’ music see a surge.

Advertising is another story. Podcast creators are seeing a rise in media buyers blacklisting shows that discuss coronavirus—a trend first seen with online news publishers. And some brands, particularly those in the retail and service categories, are hitting pause on their digital audio ad spend.

“We are either seeing canceling budgets or postponing campaigns,” says Alexis van de Wyer, CEO at Pandora-owned AdsWizz, the largest programmatic audio exchange in the market. “The type of advertisers is also changing: Auto dealerships, brick-and-mortar stores, sports, casinos—all those categories are getting hammered.”

Van de Wyer says there’s been almost a 30 percent drop in second-quarter bookings, citing recently released research from the IAB. “That is massive,” he says.

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