Increased activity in the Canadian podcasting space shows promise of closing the monetization gap, according to the 2019 Canadian Podcast Listener (CPL) survey.
Presented at last week’s RAIN Summit in Toronto, Jeff Vidler of Audience Insights Inc. – one of the study’s authors, says Canada is following global trends as the medium matures.
With podcast ad revenue in the U.S. rising from $106 million in 2015 and projected to reach $863 million by 2020, Vidler says podcasting in Canada is also poised for steep growth in ad returns, albeit on a smaller scale.
According to CRTC data, Canadian radio ad revenue amounted to $1.5B in 2017. With four per cent of radio’s share of audio consumption time claimed by podcasts in 2018, Vidler muses that accordingly podcast monetization should have the potential to hit the $60M mark.
He says a spike in investment and new initiatives are helping Canadians catch up in the space.
“It’s exciting to see the podcasting ecosystem finally take shape in Canada,” Vidler told Broadcast Dialogue. “There’s been a huge growth in investment over the past year and a half…the launch of Corus Curiouscast, Rogers buying Pacific Content and starting their own podcast network, TPX achieving scale as they aggregate ad inventory, and the CBC launching more and more original podcasts.”
Vidler says the establishment of those podcast networks offers Canadian creators, producers and advertisers more scale.
“Advertisers and agencies have picked up on the buzz around podcasting and are willing to give it a shot. And scale makes it easier to deliver meaningful audience numbers,” explained Vidler.
Among other findings, the survey reveals that podcast listening in Canada is only growing incrementally. While nearly 11 million adults (37% of the 18+ population) have listened in the past year, going up from 35.9% to 36.8%, weekly listening went down slightly from 17.9% to 17.2%.
Region by region, monthly podcast listening is most popular in Vancouver & the Lower Mainland at 41%. That’s followed by Toronto at 38%, BC at 35%, Ontario at 28%, and Alberta at 27%. Montreal comes in at 26% and the province of Quebec at just 20%. The study concludes that a lack of French content is keeping listening levels lower among Francophones. Just 12% of French Canadians identify as weekly podcast listeners.
Weekly podcast listenership is being driven by so-called ‘Power Listeners’ who make up 37% of all podcast listeners. Those Power Listeners consume three-quarters of total weekly podcast hours.
The survey also finds that podcast platforms are shifting, with more listeners accessing content outside iTunes/Apple Podcasts, which accounts for 34% of listening. While Apple still leads among Power Listeners, YouTube has become the go-to podcast platform (43%), largely driven by the popularity of The Joe Rogan Experience. Spotify, which is relatively new to the podcast game, comes in third at 24%.
In terms of popularity, monthly podcast listeners were asked to name up to 10 podcasts listened to in the past month, plus their favourite podcast. CPL then tapped podcast host ART19 to match those responses to an Apple Podcasts list of 50,000+ podcasts downloaded in Canada.
Of the 2,411 unique podcasts named by respondents, only 646 (just 27%) received more than a single mention.
The Joe Rogan Experience showed up in the top three across Apple Podcasts, YouTube and Spotify. Unsurprisingly, Rogan topped YouTube listens at 21.4%, while comparatively This American Life was the most-frequently named listen on Apple Podcasts at 6.0%, followed by Rogan at 5.1%. Stuff You Should Know was the most popular response for those who primarily listen on Spotify.
The results of the 2019 Canadian Podcast Listener survey are based on a market representative online sample survey of more than 4,500 Canadian adults from Maru Voice Canada. The survey was conducted in two waves, the first between May 22-24, 2019 to establish podcast penetration and involved 3,040 Canadians, aged 18+. An indepth survey measuring podcast behaviour, interests and attitudes was conducted from June 13 – July 2, involving 1,538 monthly podcast listeners, 18+.
CPL is authored by Audience Insights Inc. and Ulster Media, with support from The Podcast Exchange (TPX).
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