Nearly 1 in 5 Americans listen to a podcast every day

I know saying that Normal Gossip is a must-listen podcast is a room temperature take, but if you have not tuned in yet, I implore you to listen to its most recent episode. I will not spoil it beyond the fact that niche pocket watch community drama is spicier than I could ever imagine. 

On to the news! Anchor users around the world can now upload video podcasts, Acast has a fancy new tool for advertisers, and Edison has some promising new research on the growth of podcast listening.

Anchor users around the world can now publish video podcasts on Spotify

As YouTube becomes a bigger player in the podcasting industry, Spotify is expanding its video podcast capabilities to creators across the globe. Anchor users in 180 markets can now publish video versions of their podcasts to Spotify. Previously, that was a perk only for users in about a dozen countries, including the US, Australia, and Brazil.

For all the talk about video podcasts, they are still the exception rather than the rule. The Joe Rogan Experience and Call Her Daddy aside, Spotify’s charts are dominated by audio-only shows. That doesn’t mean it can’t catch on — the more people do it, the more others will follow. But making a video podcast requires more equipment and editing (and you can’t look like a garbage monkey when you record, which is one of the benefits of podcasting in the first place). It’s not for everyone!

Plus, YouTube’s edge over audio streamers may not be (entirely) its video capabilities. In the spring, Cumulus found that 45 percent of people who consumed podcasts on YouTube didn’t even watch the video; they just listened with the video minimized. I suspect that YouTube’s real advantage is that… it’s Google. You google a podcast, and there it is. The search is undeniably easier, and even I find myself defaulting to the YouTube version of podcasts when I am doing research for work.

Anyway, now that Anchor has launched the feature across Spotify’s markets, I will be curious to see if adoption of video increases.

The number of daily podcast listeners is growing

That may still pale in comparison to those that, say, watch TV or listen to music every day — but it’s a lot more than it used to be. The new data from Edison, which was gathered in the third quarter of this year, shows that 18 percent of people in the US age 13 and up listen to a podcast every day, up from 15 percent during the same period last year. That 18 percent figure is also double the rate it was in 2018. 

“There have been some fluctuations in podcast reach from quarter to quarter as we saw the beginning and end of quarantine restrictions, but this graph that shows the climb of podcast reach should be encouraging for the podcast community,” the company’s blog post reads. 

Acast launches new feature that allows advertisers to target podcasts based on keywords

The industry is (justifiably) obsessed with making podcast advertising better, and Acast has introduced a new feature that attempts to do just that. The Swedish podcasting company now allows advertisers who use its marketplace to choose shows based on topic keywords.

It’s another way that, without cookies, advertisers can place spots on podcasts where they think their target audience might be. It can also allow them to select specific episodes that may be on a topic relevant to their product (even if the show as a whole is not). 

Ad tools like this may not exactly make for the most riveting news (or press releases, trust me), but they are really key to making podcasting a sustainable business. Even as podcast listening grows, the murkiness around podcast data makes it difficult for advertisers to commit money to audio campaigns. If they don’t think they will get results, they will commit their dollars elsewhere. The hope is that podcasting will be a $4 billion industry by 2024, trickling down to creators who can hopefully make a living off of their work. But that doesn’t happen without some serious improvement in audio ad tech. 

Why aren’t podcasts eligible for Grammys?

Okay, that might be a stupid question, but hear me out. The Grammys already have a couple of spoken word categories, including Best Comedy Album, Best Spoken Word Poetry Album, and in what is probably the closest to podcasting, Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling Recording. Especially as audiobooks and podcasts start to more closely resemble each other and occupy the same platforms, why not? There are obviously separate podcast award ceremonies out there, but those get little (if any) attention outside of the audio industry.

I’m not going to be the guy to petition for a podcast category at the Grammys, but it seems inevitable that someone will be.

Heads up — I will be out next week, so you will be hearing from Uncle Jake. Have a great Thanksgiving, and I say this with love, please do not email me.

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