The Definition of Podcasts: A Shift in the Way People See Content

Subscribe to Smarter Podcasting

As more and more creators claim to have a “podcast”, but only have a YouTube channel I have been more and more vocal, some might say militant, in my defense of podcasting.

Having a YouTube channel only and calling it a podcast is like having a radio show then putting it on Netflix and still calling it a radio show. The two mediums are completely different.

Audio v Video

So while you can have a podcast, with an RSS feed and able to be listened to on Spotify or Apple Podcasts etc, AND show the video on YouTube, I am a staunch believer that if you ONLY have a video it is NOT a podcast and shouldn’t be called such.

But sometimes I feel like I am fighting a losing battle as more and more creators start a YouTube channel and call it a podcast and more and more consumers start to recognize video only content as a podcast.

This is not helped by how podcasts are inaccurately portrayed in movies.

Thankfully a new survey conducted by Coleman Insights and Amplifi Media shows that only 3% of people define a podcast as video only!

But in a sign that video is being accepted as part of podcasting, 75% defined a podcast as “audio-only or available with video.”

The study done in collaboration with Amplifi Media aimed to provide valuable insights into podcast consumption trends and preferences. The survey asked 1,000 podcast listeners in the United States between the ages of 15 and 64 about their favorite ways to listen to podcasts.

The data showed that YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts were the most popular choices for 73% of the people who answered the survey. 60% of users chose YouTube as their platform of choice. This was more than Spotify (53%) and Apple Podcasts (30%). 

This is a strange result since podcasts (until very recently and still only in the US and Canada) cannot be listened on YouTube and most podcasts don’t have a YouTube channel.

Further showing the confusion of what a podcast is.

Source: Coleman Insights and Amplifi Media Research sponsored by Locked On Podcast Network

The survey has a lot of detailed information that shows how podcast listening is changing and how important sites like YouTube are for reaching wider audiences. 

The podcasting world is shifting in a big way, and this has big effects on the podcasting landscape, and those who can adapt will be able to reach an even bigger following. People used to think that audio was the only kind of media, but now the lines between audio and video are blurred.

75% of podcast listeners now think that podcasts can include both audio and video material. This change changes the limits of podcasting, giving people more ways to be creative and making room for new forms.

This has been partly driven by the demand for short form content. I myself have started a YouTube channel to match my podcast, mostly so I can create short form content for Reels and YouTube shorts which reach over 100x more people at time.

Shaping the Podcast Definition

The survey based on Coleman Insights and Amplifi Media showed that there is a new trend in how podcasts are perceived.

  • 75% of surveyed podcast consumers define a podcast as “audio-only or available with video.”
  • 22% adhere to the traditional “audio-only” definition.
  • A mere 3% perceive a podcast as “video-only.”
Source: Coleman Insights and Amplifi Media Research sponsored by Locked On Podcast Network

Platform-Specific Insights

Jay Nachlis, Vice President/Consultant at Coleman Insights, and Steve Goldstein, Founder/CEO at Amplifi Media put together this interesting research study “The New Rules of Podcasting on YouTube”, an in-depth look at how podcasting is changing over time. As experts in media and podcasting, they bring a lot of knowledge and understanding to the table when they work together.

Jay Nachlis makes smart observations about how the platforms that people use affect how they see things. This is a great example of how platforms have a huge effect on how audiences see and interact with material.

Source: Coleman Insights and Amplifi Media Research sponsored by Locked On Podcast Network

Specifically, this is not just happening on one site. It’s interesting how users from big podcasting sites like Spotify and Apple match up with the new podcast classification. The study shows that more than two-thirds of people who like Spotify and Apple Podcasts also agree with the changing definition of podcasts, which now includes both audio and video. This is because more and more people who use these platforms are realizing that podcasts can take on a multi-media form, which pushes traditional boundaries and encourages a wider range of material.

The way each platform works and how users react to changing podcast definitions on Spotify and Apple Podcasts show how quickly media viewing habits are changing. In this environment, producers and platforms have to change all the time to meet the needs of their audiences, which improves the podcasting experience for everyone.

A Dynamic Podcast Landscape

One interesting result of the research is that a large number of podcast listeners (72%), who use various podcast apps, have different ways they like to listen to podcasts. This trend shows that there are more and more venues for people with different tastes. But it’s clear that Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube are the “big three” sites that people like the most.

The fact that most podcast listeners choose these platforms shows how dominant they are in the streaming world. Apple, Spotify, and YouTube all have the attention of most podcast listeners. This choice shows how important these platforms are in shaping the podcasting world.

And it is interesting watching YouTube now enter the podcasting world. Will they be more successful than Facebook who tried and failed within a year to integrate podcasts into their platform?

The effects of these different ways of listening to podcasts are important for both people who make material and people who distribute it. With listeners spread out across different platforms, it’s hard for podcasters to make sure their content works well on every platform, whether it’s just audio or includes video. To reach as many people as possible, podcasters must make sure that their products work well on various platforms.

This is a massive step change from just producing audio-only content where the barriers were low leading to the boom independent podcasters.

In this constantly changing podcasting environment, podcasters need to be flexible and open to change if they want to reach a wide audience. For a podcast to do well in the audio world, it’s important to understand and adapt to the different ways people listen to podcasts.

This unfortunately means the need to incorporate video is larger than ever. That means more equipment, more editing time and learning to use different platforms. This raises the barrier for entry and make put off or lock out many people from ever starting a podcast. Which is already much more difficult than it usually seems.

Conclusion 

In this dynamic podcasting era, the lines between audio and video are fading, reshaping content consumption. The Coleman Insights and Amplifi Media survey captures this shift, with 75% embracing “audio-only or available with video” podcasts.

YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts reign as vital platforms, offering both challenges and possibilities. As podcasters, we’re on a journey of adaptation, exploring fresh avenues to captivate diverse audiences. Embracing change, whether through short-form videos or audio narratives, enriches the podcasting experience.

Leave a Comment