Several years ago, Jeff Vidler, founder of Signal Hill Insights, began including YouTube as a measured platform in his studies of Canadian podcast audiences. Intrigued, we began including YouTube in our twice annual Podcast Download studies.
The findings were stunning. In 2019, Apple was the leading podcast listening platform. YouTube tied Spotify as a distant number two.
By 2021, YouTube and Spotify were tied as the leading platforms for podcast listening. Now, the latest Podcast Download – Spring 2023 Report reveals YouTube is pulling away from the pack and has become the most utilized platform for podcast tuning in the U.S.
Tenth edition of the Podcast Download study from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights
For the tenth edition of the Podcast Download series, Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights retained MARU/Matchbox to conduct an in-depth study of 608 weekly podcast consumers in April 2023. The Spring 2023 Report highlights trends from prior studies and examines topics such as platform preference, content trends, perceptions of brand safety and content appropriateness, and more.
Liz Mayer, Insights Manager of the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group®, and Paul Riismandel, Chief Insights Officer and Partner of Signal Hill Insights, conducted an extensive analysis of the Podcast Download consumer study. Here are the key findings on the ascendance of YouTube as a podcast destination:
YouTube is now the most utilized podcast listening platform in the U.S.: 29% say it is the platform they use the most, followed by Spotify (17%) and Apple (16%)
Given that video is becoming a growing podcast tuning option, the definition of podcast consumption was expanded in our April 2022 study. Those who only watched podcasts were accepted into the Podcast Download survey of the weekly podcast audience.
Including those who only watch podcasts expanded the podcast consumer universe. Over the last three studies, 8% to 10% of the weekly podcast audience only consume podcasts via “watching.”
A tale of two studies: At 29%, Triton’s Digital Podcast Metrics study also finds YouTube is the number one “used most” podcast platform
Signal Hill Insights powers the Demo+ survey for Triton’s Podcast Metrics service. Their Q1 2023 survey also found YouTube was “used most” for podcast consumption at 29%.
Edison’s Podcast Q1 2023 Metrics study places Spotify in the lead for “used most often” at 30%, followed by YouTube (22%) and Apple (19%). While methodology might explain the differences, the trends are clear: Apple, the pioneer of podcasts, is falling behind as a primary access platform. Spotify is a key player. YouTube is ascending.
YouTube is used most among Podcast Newcomers, Podcast Pioneers, and heavy podcast consumers
YouTube is the number one “used most” platform among:
- Heavy podcast consumers (those who spend 6+ hours in the past week)
- Podcast Newcomers who began with podcasts in the last year
- Podcast Pioneers who started consuming podcasts 4 or more years ago
YouTube podcast audience profile: Male and older
Spotify skews young. Apple skews female. YouTube leans male (61%) and has the highest 55+ audience composition.
As the world’s entertainment search engine, YouTube is the dominant podcast discovery platform where audiences are more likely to find podcasts
A whopping one-third of the weekly podcast audience indicate YouTube was where they started listening to a new podcast. That’s twice as many who say Spotify or Apple.
Edison’s Q1 2023 Podcast Metrics study asked weekly podcast consumers to indicate how they first discovered the podcast they recently started listening to. 40% of the YouTube podcast audience said YouTube was their discovery source. 20% of Apple and Spotify’s audiences said their respective services to find a newly discovered podcast.
Those who discover a podcast on YouTube say they stick with the platform for video, recommendations, comments, community, and platform features
Yet the YouTube podcast audience is not exclusively tied to the platform
54% of those who listen to/watch podcasts on YouTube say they consume the same podcasts on other platforms. If a podcast were to become exclusive on a platform outside of YouTube, 77% of the YouTube audience say they would use the new platform to listen to/watch the show.
Watching and listening to podcasts are equally favored
- 39% prefer the audio-only experience
- 36% say they like actively watching a podcast
- 25% indicate they prefer listening to a podcast while the video is minimized or playing in the background
Those who prefer actively watching a video while listening (36%) is up from the October 2022 study (28%).
Podcast Newcomers are more likely to prefer actively watching podcast videos while those who began listening to podcasts 4+ years ago favor the audio-only experience
YouTube dominates association as the platform where podcasts can be watched and heard
While Spotify and Apple’s recently expanded access to video provides more choice to consumers, the two platforms have a lot of work to do to build their image association for a visual podcast experience.
The vast majority of the Apple and Spotify platform audience uses the smartphone, while a third of YouTube’s podcast audience uses laptops and TV
Edison’s Podcast Metrics study queries the podcast audience on the device they use most to consume podcasts. The YouTube audience is much more likely to use visual devices to consume podcasts.
13% of the YouTube podcast audience says they use a TV the most. 21% use a computer/laptop most.
- YouTube is now the most utilized podcast listening platform in the U.S.: 29% say it is the platform they use the most, followed by Spotify (17%) and Apple (16%)
- A tale of two studies: At 29%, Triton’s Digital Podcast Metrics study also finds YouTube is the number one “used most” podcast platform
- YouTube is used most among Podcast Newcomers, Podcast Pioneers, and heavy podcast consumers
- YouTube podcast audience profile: Male and older
- As the world’s entertainment search engine, YouTube is a leading podcast discovery platform where audiences are more likely to find podcasts
- Those who discover a podcast on YouTube say they stick with the platform for video, community, and platform features, yet the YouTube podcast audience is not totally tied to the platform
- Watching and listening to podcasts are equally favored
- Podcast Newcomers are more likely to prefer actively watching podcast videos while those who began listening to podcasts 4+ years ago favor the audio-only experience
- YouTube dominates the association for the platform where podcasts can be watched and heard
Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.