YouTube May Not Be The Podcast Growth Zone It Was Just A Year Ago.


Edison Research last year said its research showed the podcast lines were blurring as some fans of the medium who were watching the video stream of a podcast on YouTube considered that listening to a show. Against that backdrop, Edison’s latest data shows Americans are spending less of their total listening time with YouTube in 2020. The company says its conclusion is based on two separate datasets it produces.


The latest Share of Ear data from Edison Research shows that Americans now spend 9% of their time spent listening to audio sources with YouTube. That is down from 11% in 2018. Edison reports the decrease is driven primarily from younger demos. The data shows those in the 13-34 age group now spend 16% of their total audio time with YouTube. That is down from 20% in 2019.


Edison earlier reported in its annual Infinite Dial report that 44% of the total U.S. population aged 12 and older reported having used YouTube for music in the last week. That was down from what had been a milestone 50% level recorded in 2019.


The Infinite Dial study also showed the decrease in reach was driven by younger demos. The number of 12-34-year-olds using YouTube for music in the last week fell 14% year-over-year, to 60% from 70%. And usage by 35-54-year-olds was down slightly to 53% from 56% year-over-year. 


“As both Share of Ear and Infinite Dial have catalogued enormous gains for YouTube for music listening over the last decade, it is of note that we see some diminishment for the first time corroborated in both surveys,” the company said. It also noted that the data points from both surveys were captured prior to the onset of widespread COVID-19-related disruptions, so it is unclear what, if any, impact that may have had on YouTube usage.


Edison Research Senior VP Tom Webster first flagged the podcast-YouTube connection last year, saying the “lines are really getting blurry” for the industry. He said the likely culprit was a flood of “rookie” listeners who are coming into the space in ways that an industry born from downloads on iPods had not benefited from in the past. “They are obtaining content in some different ways and the persnickety among us may not consider those podcasts, but I don’t know if we want to be talking people out of what they are listening to,” Webster said. “People are saying they’re listening to podcasts—maybe they are, maybe they’re not,” he told the Podcast Movement conference in Orlando.


Edison will share more of its findings from its New Music Seekers report during a webinar scheduled for July 16. Get details HERE.

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