The podcast industry may be turning another page in its evolution, and the next phase is likely to be even more video-focused, according to new research from Morning Consult. It finds nearly one in five Gen Z adults said they watched a video podcast on a daily basis last month. That is more than those who said they listened to a show.
“There’s no question that video podcasts have taken off over the past year,” says Morning Consult in the semiannual State of Media & Entertainment report. It shows 17% of Gen Zs watched a podcast each day during May versus 12% that listened. “But given how many consumers likely stumble across podcast clips on social media without realizing it, the actual share is probably higher,” the report says.
The survey shows it is not only Gen Zs who are embracing the video option. Eleven percent of those surveyed report they watched a video episode of a podcast daily during May. That is the same number that said they listened to a show.
Yet Morning Consult’s data also suggests that another shakeout may be in podcasting’s future. The report points out that some producers have seen modest consumption of the shows they have uploaded to YouTube, with on-camera presentations outperforming those episodes with static images. “But given the cost associated with producing video counterparts, we’ll see more top-performing podcasts start to offer them, rather than less prominent shows,” the report predicts.
Watching video episodes on a daily basis requires the sort of time commitment that not all adults can make. But overall, Morning Consult says nearly 40% of adults watch podcasts at least once a month. The report calls that a “high number” considering a lot of shows have yet to even launch a video companion to their audio show.
Social media sites are a key factor in how people are accessing videos. Twitter Blue subscribers can now upload video podcast episodes of up to two hours. And TikTok tested a feature in January that allows users to listen to a video with their screen locked. If that test becomes a permanent feature, Morning Consult expects it will increase the number of video podcast clips distributed on TikTok.
Even with video playing a larger role, Morning Consult says its survey shows where Gen Z is listening to audio limits how big an impact video will be on audio advertising. Seven in ten Gen Zs say they streamed music while in the car in April, six in ten streamed music while at work, while five in ten did so at the gym. In each of those settings, audio seems to have a natural advantage.
“There’s a limit to how much video can infiltrate music streaming platforms or overtake time spent streaming audio, given how many consumers continue to stream music in places outside the home, where audio-only consumption is ideal,” the report says. “This all reiterates that, despite the visual-forward reputation Gen Z has developed due to its unique affinity for TikTok, many young consumers are still regularly spending a lot of time with audio-only experiences. This is unlikely to change and highlights the importance of investing in digital audio ads to boost awareness of upcoming shows and movies.”
Among the report’s other findings is that artificial intelligence is still not a defining feature of the streaming music platform as just 13% of adults said that AI-curated playlists were a big appeal when deciding which app to use. More broadly, roughly a quarter of adults say that using AI in the production of TV shows and movies makes dialogue and plots worse.
Speaking of movies, Morning Consult says two in five adults told them that they would be willing to pay more for a video streaming service that released content based on big franchises.
The report also says that interest in the metaverse still exists and ties in well with companies’ desire for global franchise building.
Download a copy of Morning Consult’s semiannual State of Media & Entertainment HERE.