Podcast Watching Soars as YouTube Edges Out Spotify to Become the Most Used U.S. Podcast Platform


Cumulus Media (NASDAQ: CMLS), in partnership with Signal Hill Insights, today released Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Spring 2022 Report, a comprehensive evaluation of the podcast audience.

The eighth edition of the study that examines weekly podcast listeners is part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Topics covered in the Podcast Download Report include platform usage, content, and advertising.

“Our new Podcast Download Report uncovers a major surge in video podcast audiences as YouTube becomes the most used platform to access podcasts,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Marketing for Cumulus Media and President, Westwood One.

“Podcast advertising reaches millions of younger consumers who have abandoned linear television for advertising-free video streaming services.”

“There is a major opportunity to enhance podcast advertising creative as the audience prefers a funny and entertaining approach to the current executions, they hear that are focused on features and benefits,” said Jeff Vidler, President and Founder of Signal Hill Insights. “As Paul Feldwick says, ‘Advertising is at least as much showmanship as it is salesmanship [and it] builds brands best when it is entertaining, popular and memorable, when it is not just a pitch, but a performance.’ There’s also, of course, a matter of fit with the podcast.”

The Spring 2022 edition reveals valuable insights for content creators and advertisers. Some highlights from the report:

  • Six in ten weekly podcast listeners say they prefer podcasts with video: When asked how they prefer listening to podcasts, 28% say they like a podcast video they actively watch while listening and 29% indicate they have the video in the background/minimized while listening. 43% say they use audio only with no video.
  • Podcast video has greater “eyes on” advertising attentiveness than linear television: 58% of weekly podcast listeners say they their eyes are on the screen when podcast ads are playing (“some, most, or all of the time”) compared to only 39% for linear TV, based on Nielsen studies.
  • Podcast platform wars: YouTube is now the leading audience destination: When asked which platform they listen to the most to access podcasts, 24.2% say YouTube, followed by Spotify (23.8%) and Apple Podcasts (16%).
  • The big three platforms (Apple, Spotify, YouTube) grow: Since 2019, the big three podcast platform oligarchy now has a 64% listening share, up from 55% in 2019.
  • Podcast listeners spend nearly half of all video-viewing time with ad-free content: Weekly podcast listeners spend 42% of their video time (TV, video streaming, etc.) with ad-free video content.
  • Younger demos and women are the majority of new listeners: More than half of Podcast Newcomers who have started listening in the last year are 18-34, and more than half are women.
  • The greater the time spent with podcasts, the more the podcast ads generate consumer response and business outcomes: As a result of hearing a podcast ad, heavy podcast listeners (those who listen 6+ hours per week) are more likely to have searched online for a product, discovered a new product/service, made a purchase, used a promo code, or followed a brand on social media.
  • Funny and entertaining ads offer a creative opportunity: While podcast listeners remain highly receptive to podcast ads, they say they prefer funny and entertaining podcast ads to the features/benefits ads they say they currently hear more often.
  • Podcast listeners are looking to interact and engage with their favorite podcasts: Weekly podcast listeners often follow hosts on social media, plan to attend live in-person podcast events, and place exclusive content or access ahead of an ad-free experience.

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Spring 2022 Report is available in full for download at CumulusPodcastNetwork.com.

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