What Is A Podcast?


That’s the question Edison Research Senior VP Tom Webster was trying to figure out during his keynote speech, Wednesday, at Podcast Movement. Webster says there’s no longer a clear way to define what a podcast is.

Webster showed video clips of podcast listeners. Some were new listeners (rookies) and some were longtime listeners (veterans). The new research showed that as new listeners come into the space, they are discovering podcasts in many ways and not necessarily in audio format.

Webster gave several examples of how the lines are being blurred and things are changing. The first was Joe Rogan’s podcast. Rogan is tracking as the number one show halfway through Edison’s new podcast tracking system. Rogan also has over 7 million video views of his podcast. Do you add those views to the numbers?

What iHeartRadio is doing is another example. The radio giant will soon start broadcasting podcasts on radio stations across the country every Sunday. Webster says that’s great news for podcasting but that’s not really a podcast. It’s not downloadable and it’s not on a podcast device. How would you count listens and downloads to those shows?

Edison’s research also pointed out that rookie podcast listeners are discovering podcasts on YouTube and Facebook Live before they ever hear a podcast on a podcast app. Webster’s advice to all of this disruption in the space and confusion about what a podcast is, is to be everywhere, because the audience is in control.

He says it’s no longer good enough to just say, “subscribe to my show wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.” Why? Because what if they discover podcasts on a platform where they cannot get your show? 

Webster advised podcasters to do three things:
1) Be where the listeners are because they will encounter your content, not seek it out.
2) Live where they are because they are where they are.
3) Love where they are because they are not going to be corralled anywhere else.


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