YouTube is NOT the #1 Source for Podcasts

I’m calling out FUTURI, NAB, and The University of Florida for publishing a study claiming YouTube is the #1 source for podcast listening.

Here’s a link to the study: https://web.tresorit.com/l#KqPiA_b5Ruf3Zz2j-9f81Q

When I was younger I had a mentor that told me it was best, prior to getting into a debate with anyone about anything, to define your terms. That is, to be very specific about what the words you are going to use actually mean in the way that you are using them.

The authors of this study failed to define the term “podcast” and they should have realized that before they published the study. Instead, whether the realized it or not, they published the study and it is as useful as a chocolate teapot. It looks pretty, but you had better not try to make any tea in it.

I pray to the podcasting gods that every podcaster on Earth reads this article before they spend a lifetime turning back catalog episodes into static videos for YouTube. Here’s the problem: This study includes video podcasts in its definition of “podcasts”.

One more time: THIS STUDY INCLUDES VIDEO PODCASTS IN ITS DATA

That means, in the context of how the study defines “podcast” the Joe Rogan Experience podcast you LISTEN to here:

Is the SAME podcast you WATCH here:

They are not the same. Categorically they are not the same.

You can call the YouTube version of Joe Rogan’s podcast a podcast all you want, but it’s an on-demand video program. It is not a podcast. Just because it has podcast in the title doesn’t make it a podcast.

A podcast on YouTube looks like this:

It is a static image, maybe with an animated waveform dancing around with the audio, laid on top of audio. This is what a podcaster will create if you convince him or her to put their podcast on YouTube and tell them thousands of new listeners are awaiting them because 70% of people who listen to podcasts listen to them on YouTube.

Why does this matter?

The Revisionist History podcast by Malcolm Gladwell is popular. Not as popular as Rogan’s, but it’s popular. The episode in the screenshot above is from October 12th 2017. It has 3,088 views. In a year and a half.

The Joe Rogan Experience episode in the screenshot above is two days old and has 614,684 episodes. Orders of magnitude more than Gladwell’s.

But Gladwell’s show is no longer in production, so maybe let’s use another popular figure putting their podcast on YouTube and see how they do in a couple of days. Here’s Matthew Rappaport from I Am Rappaport, a popular podcast and a YouTube Channel with 76K subscribrers:

4,368 listens in a month. With a $7CPM (and I’m guessing Rappaports CPM based on his subs), he made $30 for putting his podcast on YouTube.

Rappaport and Gladwell both have lukewarm celebrity status, but that’s more status than most podcasters have. If it’s not blowing up their stats, it’s not going to blow up the stats of average Joe podcaster.

People do not go to YouTube to listen, they go to watch.

When you tell a podcaster that YouTube is the #1 place to listen to podcasts, here’s what those podcasters, who are already fighting tooth and nail to get their podcasts out there into the world and noticed, think:

Oh my god! I need to get my podcast audio on YouTube! I’m missing out! I need more listeners!

Then they spend DAYS working in crappy software like Windows Movie Maker (or something similar) creating one-frame videos featuring their episode cover art and their audio playing for 45-minutes.

A year later, that video has 300 views and they’ve given up.

Succeeding in podcasting is hard and the people giving podcasting advice (a crown I am thankful to be a part of) need to be a lot more thoughtful about the advice they give. If you’re advising podcasters, you need to advise them wisely and in their language, not in the language of the consumer who will slap the label of podcast on audio AND video but only engage with one. Junior podcasters look to you, look to us, for practical advice to really help them improve.

It’s okay to put your podcast on YouTube, you should do it. But only when you’re ready to introduce video to the production.

If you want to put your podcast on YouTube it needs to be in video form — you need a camera. Doesn’t have to be fancy, doesn’t have to look great, but it has to feature video.


If you’re in need of podcast consulting or professional podcast editing and engineering services, consider reaching out the The Portland Pod at 207.295.6039 to schedule a free 30-minute phone call to talk about your needs and how we might help you meet them. Thanks for reading and take care.


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