The Podnews Report Card - 2023 results
Podnews has produced the Podnews Report Card for the second year. The survey gives information and sentiment from podcast creators and listeners about the podcast platforms that they use.
As presented at Podcast Movement Evolutions, here is the data representing podcast creators.
Podnews promoted the survey repeatedly to more than 26,000 subscribers during the month of February 2023. We asked a number of questions about individual platforms (you could vote for other platforms too), requesting scores and comments. The same questions this year were used last year for some platforms - we added YouTube and Amazon this year - so that we could track progress.
More than 135 different podcast creators took part this year, which was more than last year.
Below are the slides we used when initially reporting the results, and additional commentary. The slides contain the questions asked.
Apple, which was in second-place last year, moved up to #1 spot this year. Spotify also saw an increase in score, and you’ll notice that both of these platforms have scored higher this year than last for many of the questions we asked.
Another recurring theme is Google Podcasts, disappointingly seeing a drop in most scores. This may be because Google Podcasts hasn’t seen any new features this year, and its future is uncertain after podcasts are apparently to move into YouTube.
Many people voted for Overcast again this year; though naturally those that wanted to add a vote for this platform scored the service highly.
However, in the comments, it’s clear that podcast creators want the main apps to support the basics, which they consider to include supporting of chapters, episode artwork and hyperlinks (in descriptions). Google Podcasts doesn’t support these on iOS, though does in Android.
Both Spotify and Apple see an increase in their score here, while Podcast Index remains steady. Apple scores lower than Spotify, potentially because of their requirement for approval (which is mostly instant these days) and the requirement for an Apple ID, which isn’t always smooth. YouTube scores low here: the company hasn’t properly launched their podcast product, and their (US-only) podcast homepage clearly doesn’t include all the shows.
For insights, Google has lost a little score after removing some of the analytics available on the Google Podcasts platform. Apple has pulled away from Spotify, though, to get to be #1.
However, there is dissatisfaction from creators about the consistency of stats. As one example, Google only logs a “play” if something has been played more than five seconds, while for Apple and Spotify, there’s no lower limit. There’s also a call for the stats to be in a consistent format to ease compilation.
After Apple announced and launched their paid subscriptions product in May 2021, its use by an increasing number of podcast creators may explain Apple’s higher scores here. However, YouTube’s appearance high in this chart shows that creators are already familiar with how monetisation works on that platform, and how it may work for podcasting too.
For the second year in a row, Podcast Index gains the #1 score for innovation. We can’t really explain Apple’s increase, but Spotify has rolled out a number of new tools and services in the past year within their app. Overcast was voted by a good number of people, too.
By comparison, both Spotify and YouTube fare badly when asked to rank them by how much they work on open standards. Here, Podcast Index, Apple and Google Podcasts score highly.
Perhaps reflecting a lack of a large support team coupled with its growth, Podcast Index sees a drop here. The winner here, once more, is Apple, with a significant increase in ranking.
It’s very clear that creators are impressed with changed in Apple’s processes…
… and also very clear that podcast creators are excited about what YouTube could offer. It’s a generally understood medium, and a service that podcasters feel has great promise.
Overall, then: Apple has seen a significant increase in ranking from creators, though Spotify has also seen an increase in score. Google Podcasts shows, as throughout, a disappointing decrease in rank; but YouTube is already in a challenging position against Apple and Spotify, despite not really launching anything as yet.
We’re sharing this slide deck, as well as all the verbatim comments (anonymised), with the podcast platforms. This year, all podcast platforms have been keen to have a copy of the full data.
We know that this data is useful for them, and particularly with consistency of features and analytics data, we believe that this will be useful to help them improve.
We’re delighted to see an improvement for both Apple and Spotify; but are also keen to help the industry continue to focus on better tools for creators and listeners.
If you took part - thank you.
|James Cridland is the Editor of Podnews, a keynote speaker and consultant. He wrote his first podcast RSS feed in January 2005; and also launched the first live radio streaming app for mobile phones in the same year. He's worked in the audio industry since 1989.|