AfterPod — Are Podcasters Different?

It’s logical… a difference exists between the way podcasters and their listeners think. While there is obviously common ground between creator and consumer that connects them, they DO have different perspectives.

content producer or content consumers … 1:MANY

Podcasters are motivated to create content. They must also learn about technology, marketing, and audience behavior along the way to delivering it.

Listeners and viewers are less motivated to do anything more than consume. Not necessarily technically challenged, they resist extra effort (how many VCR clocks blinked 12:00:00 for years despite the ability to use the devices?).

Recently, Kevin Goldberg released his 2017 Podcast Trends Report and was kind enough to share some of the source data for a closer look. I was hoping to present all of the questions split out by podcaster or not — but the format of the data was clumsy and time short — so I only examined the first few questions that I share with you now.

I should note that, when asking questions, the distinction between a “podcast” being a series or an episode COULD impact the responses, especially of non-podcasters who may not grasp the distinction.

1. How many podcasts subscribed?

Obviously, podcasters have less time to LISTEN to podcasts than non-podcasters since they spend some of their time MAKING podcasts… so that explains a lot.

Unsurprisingly, podcasters generally subscribe to fewer podcasts.

Of note, there is a peak at the high end of the range for both, but more pronounced with non-podcasters. You can see the numbers taper off as podcasts increase… and then jump at the end. Why?

This MIGHT have to do with the question itself and its interpretation. Could podcasters be answering correctly the number of SERIES they follow yet non-podcasters reporting EPISODES in their “unlistened” backlog?

This may also be a housekeeping issue. Like with maintaining your email inbox, SOME people don’t “clean up” old subscriptions that aren’t listened to anymore (nor do all apps perform such duties). Perhaps podcasters are just more diligent about pruning their dormant subscriptions?

Still, almost 20% of non-podcasters are loaded on this back end… that’s big… and odd.

2. How many listened to last month?

Again, the availability of time probably explains differences between podcasters and not, with a shift slightly to the higher end for listeners-only.

Over time, I expect the quantity of shows consumed by non-podcasters to increase significantly. Remember, non-podcasters = listeners. To listen to 70 podcast episodes over the last month is barely over 2 per day.

So, we must define what an episode is. If it is a 30 minute show, two per day is not much! The duration of an episode is relevant. In the future, I predict a larger quantity of shows with shorter lengths, allowing consumption of MORE shows in the same time period… as an optional behavior, think in terms of a playlist of, say, six related 5 minute shows versus a single 30 minute show.

Inevitably, this metric must be weighed against episode duration (and track that average, too) for actual growth to be measured in the future.

3. Hours per week listening?

It would be better see these questions offer higher answer ranges in the future… 1/3 to 1/2 in the top response is too much. We don’t know a true high end of the range yet. The meaning of this question is still hidden in that top bucket.

In the future, I predict we will see consumption hours increase steadily and significantly. This will be in part due to the general increase in podcast adoption. Some will come at the direct expense of radio and television (in my opinion). In other words, some of the growth will be the adoption of a new habit while another portion will be a replacement behavior.

4. How do you listen?

For historical reasons, most current podcasters are Apple-centric.

For historical reasons, most current non-podcasters are Apple-centric, but less so.

For current market reasons, the movement is away from the iOS platform and its dominance. This is also an effect of math… Apple’s extremely high market share could only go down once competition set in. The question is:

Where will it stabilize? Will it achieve parity at Apple/Android mobile phone market share, which is now about 35%/65%?

Remember, too… podcasting is a world market.

More To Come

This is only a start.

I am going to keep my eye out for opportunities to show distinctions between podcasters and “their customers”. Aside from our obvious connection, I think there is a lot to be learned in the behavior gap that exists between them and us*.

If YOU know of fresh, relevant data available for our info veg-o-matic, please DO let me know!

Results will be shared, of course.


*I include myself in the non-podcaster category. I am a listener. My perspective is from that of the audience. Keep that in mind as you read my meanderings.


New to this series examining web media and podcast consumption?

The last article was about the term “podcast” and its many meanings and the next is about podcast hosting.

You may want to read the first article, which establishes much of the foundation for these views, or the second one that begins to forth our intent to purposefully (and positively) modify podcast consumption behavior.

Thank you for your time and consideration of my views on podcasting. Also, if you are interested in my web media development project, let’s talk!

Rick