Of course, true crime and podcasts go hand in hand. The Hulu comedy “Only Murders in the Building” is explicitly a parody of the ubiquitousness of the genre. And there are plenty of other podcasts on the charts that center on bloody mysteries, with titles like “Morbid,” “Crime Junkie” and “My Favorite Murder.”
Still, the “Dateline” podcasts are helping the genre reach a new audience. The median age of viewers of the Friday night edition of “Dateline” is 63, according to Nielsen. On Spotify, the median age of a “Dateline” podcast listener is 41, according to data from Chartable, which was supplied by NBC News.
The network declined to disclose revenue figures for the podcasts, but they appear to be helping the company’s bottom line. The “Dateline” series command an advertising rate on a par with the podcast version of the popular public radio show “Fresh Air,” according to Standard Media Index, which collects advertising data.
It has been quite a turn of events for a 30-year-old television show.
The show, which premiered in 1992 with Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley as co-anchors, began as a traditional TV newsmagazine — with three to five segments that typically included interviews, features and investigations.
In the 1990s, during network television’s newsmagazine craze, “Dateline” could occupy as much as five hours of NBC’s prime-time schedule each week. Over the past 20 years, the show has remained a mainstay of the NBC schedule, filling in gaps whenever called upon in addition to holding its usual Friday night slot.
“Those of us within the hallways of NBC News have always understood the value of ‘Dateline,’” said Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News. “Historically, to many regimes past, whenever a fall entertainment lineup would start to wobble, we would always get the call to fill those open slots with additional ‘Dateline’ hours on the broadcast network.”