Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights have released the Spring 2023 Podcast Download Report, diving in to the listening habits of weekly podcast consumers in the U.S.
One of this year’s key findings is that podcast consumers have embraced YouTube as the number one podcast platform, particularly for podcast discovery. Podcast Download found listeners spend nearly as much time on YouTube listening to podcasts without visuals as they do while watching. Over six in 10 look at the screen at least some of the time, even during ads, with screen time increasing year-over-year. Those who prefer watchable podcasts are more likely to skew younger and male, and say they listen to Music and Health/Fitness podcasts more than audio-only consumers who lean towards True Crime, the report noted.
“Throughout our long-running Podcast Download Report series, we have seen the steady growth of YouTube as a podcast destination and now as a gateway to podcast discovery,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Marketing for Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One, in a release. “While the dominance of YouTube as a platform is exciting and important as we continue to launch our Cumulus Podcast Network shows on YouTube, at the end of the day, content trumps the platform, and our strategy is to focus on podcasts that retain the audience regardless of platform.”
Podcast Download says since 2019, YouTube and Spotify have been growing among so-called “Podcast Newcomers” at the expense of Apple Podcasts, with a recent shift to YouTube and away from Spotify.
“The platform findings in the report are fascinating and challenge some of the conventional wisdom we’ve seen in the industry regarding podcast destinations,” added Paul Riismandel, Chief Insights Officer and Partner, Signal Hill Insights. “What we’ve seen is that the YouTube preference is utilitarian. Podcasting is still a multi-platform world, consistent with our heterogenous digital media consumption ecosystem. Consumers stick with YouTube for the video, community, comments, and recommendations but platform exclusivity is less important as we see podcast consumers also listening to their YouTube shows elsewhere.”
Other key takeaways are that the longer one has been listening to podcasts, the more podcasts they consume. It also found that podcast advertising, which the report indicates is up 16 points year-over-year, captures hard-to-reach, ad-free video streamers, noting that weekly podcast consumers are also heavy viewers of ad-free video streaming services.
Podcast Download says about 31% of Americans are listening for more than an hour a week, while 12% of the U.S. population is listening to more than six hours of podcast content weekly. The average weekly listener is taking in 5.1 different shows per week.
The study is based on a nationally representative sample of weekly podcast consumers representing 31% of the U.S., according to Edison’s Infinite Dial study. It also examines heavy podcast consumers (those who listen 6+ hours per week) as well as when consumers started to listen to podcasts – Podcast Pioneers (4+ years ago), Podcast Intermediates (2-3 years ago), and Podcast Newcomers (past 12 months).
The study was fielded online using a nationally representative sample of 608 respondents, 18+, who spent at least one hour listening to or watching podcasts within the past week, and are not employed in the advertising, public relations, marketing, market research, radio, television, digital, or podcasting industries. Surveys were conducted between April 14-27, 2023.
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