The world of podcasts is changing quickly. There are more podcasters, more listeners, and more services and apps with which to consume your favorite podcast.
Also changing? The mix of devices people are listening to podcasts with.
I wanted to get a sense of how the podcast listening device mix may be shifting and how Apple’s iTunes - the long dominant podcast download software - is doing in comparison to others.
In order to do this, I asked a couple of the big podcast hosting companies, Libsyn and Blubrry/Rawvoice, to share some data.
I should note that both companies were great and sent me over the data when I asked, but that I actually got sidetracked on other projects. As a result, this data is from June of this year.
Yes: I am such a complete slacker.
That said - the data still paints an interesting picture that gives a pretty good idea of the larger shifts in consumption by device type and underlying platform perspective.
So here goes…
First off, I wanted to see Apple stood over the last few years in terms of total podcast downloads. Given iTunes dominance in podcast discovery and their strength in mobile devices, it’s worth looking at how they have performed overall.
Below is a chart from Rawvoice, a large podcast hosting company. The chart breaks down total Apple share of downloads through either iTunes or onto iOS devices.
The chart above shows that Apple’s share of downloads hosted by Blubrry has held fairly steady from 55% to 73% over the course of the last three years, with a slight dip in 2011 and this year.
Perhaps more interesting is how the Apple share breaks down across iTunes, iPhone and iPad over the same time period.
This is where it starts to get interesting. While iTunes has long been known to be the dominant podcast discovery and download software, over the last few years more consumers have started to download directly to their mobile devices.
The iPhone share of downloads has grown from 1% in May 2010 to 19% by May 2013. It should be noted that this growth has been helped by Apple releasing a dedicated podcast app, which allows consumers to download directly to their phones or iPads. I would guess that the number is even higher today.
And it should be noted that other platforms are seeing growth outside of the Apple ecosystem. In particular, Android has seen steady growth over the past few years as more consumers use Android-powered phones.
Below is a chart breaking down Android platform download share.
Android has been growing steadily and by May of 2013, accounted for 8% of downloads within the Blubrry hosted universe. It should be noted that the Android number in 2011 included all Linux downloads, and that the total downloads is a combination of Android browser as well as application (Google Listen, BeyondPod, etc) downloads.
Onto the Libsyn data. Rob Walch at Libsyn shared info for the last 12 months or so through May of 2013.
First, let’s look at how Apple’s share is holding up over the 12 month period of April ‘12 to May ‘13 for Libsyn hosted podcasts.
As can be seen by the above chart, Apple’s total podcast share is similar for Libsyn as it is for Blubrry. However, the trend appears to show what could be a slight decline from April ‘12 to May ‘13, going from about 73% to steadying for the entire spring quarter at around 66%.
The reason? Part could be due to Android, which has been growing relative to Apple’s still dominant share over this time period. This can can be seen in the chart below.
The above chart shows the ratio of Android podcast downloads relative to Apple (iTunes, iPhone, iPad). What does it tell us? Basically that in April 2012 there were 10 podcast downloads to an Apple platform for every one podcast download to an Android platform, but by May of this year that ratio had declined to under 5 to 1.
While there has clearly been growth in Android downloads (the ratio is about half of what it was - meaning that Android podcast downloads grew 100% relative to Apple downloads), Apple still holds a commanding lead.
What about mobile overall vs. desktop? According to Libsyn’s data, the mobile continues to grow overall share of podcast downloads (benefitting both Apple share as well as Android).
The above chart shows how mobile has overtook the computer in terms of podcast download share in the period from April ‘12 to May ‘13. Once again, the addition of an Apple podcast app has helped contribute to this shift, as has the growth in popularity of mobile podcatcher apps
Bottom line? The data shows a picture of the growing strength of mobile, the continued (but slightly lessened) strength of Apple for podcast discovery and download, and a slow but ever-growing increase for Android in terms of podcast consumption.
To hear my conversations with Rob Walch of Libsyn, Jim Colgan (podcast head for Soundcloud), and great podcast hosts like Dan Benjamin of 5by5 and Marco Arment of ATP, check out my podcast project playlist below: