Reports Media & Marketing

Podcasts Q2 2020 Spotify Takes an Early Lead

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View: Podcasts have become the next battle front for audio. Spotify’s ambitious content and product strategy have enabled it to become an early leader, but the podcast market is still in its infancy, with adoption far lower than radio or streaming music. Podcasts have greater long-term market potential than music streaming but with many divergent objectives among key players, the interplay of product and content strategy will delineate the competitive marketplace.

Key Insights

  • In        2020, radio led audio consumption with        weekly active user penetration, ahead of streaming music at        music radio at        and podcasts at        is now the leading destination platform for podcast users. In        2020,        of podcast listeners used Spotify,        points ahead of Apple in second place
  • Spotify podcast user penetration peaks at        of podcast users in Germany and is lowest in France        podcast user penetration peaks at        in the US but falls to        in Australia, and Downcast reaches        in the US but only        in Germany
  • Spotify is using podcasts to increase its streaming market share:        of Apple Music weekly active users that are also podcast listeners get some of their podcasts from Spotify
  • However, the fact that Spotify’s exclusive podcasts are in front of the paywall makes it vulnerable during the recession to subscribers cancelling in favour of Apple One, while retaining the free app for podcasts
  • In the UK, the BBC’s Sounds app        is the second most used platform for podcasts after Spotify        and far ahead of Apple in third        of BBC Sounds weekly average listeners use it for podcasts, compared to        for NPR
  • BBC Sounds sets a blueprint for broadcasters to devise app-centric product approach as the core of integrated audio strategy to drive podcast adoption and audience transition
  • Proving podcast return on investment to advertisers will be crucial during the        of podcast weekly average users usually skip ads in podcasts, but        said they are more likely to pay attention to an audio ad than ads that are displayed online

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: ABC, ACAST, Apple, Apple Music, Apple One, Audible, BBC, BBC Sounds, CBC, Downcast, France Radio, Global, Google, Luminary, NPR, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher

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