Finding and maintaining an audience for a podcast can be challenging, so most podcasts make their content widely available. The vast majority of top-ranked podcasts studied are available on several major listing sites, with few podcasts exclusive to one site.

Most top-ranked podcasts are available across major podcast listing sites

Nearly all top podcasts (99%) are available on Spotify, and roughly nine-in-ten top podcasts are available on Apple Podcasts (these two sites were used to determine podcast ranking). To see if these podcasts were also available on other listing sites, researchers then looked to see if each podcast was on Google Podcasts and Stitcher. Majorities of these top podcasts are also available on these other sites (90% and 82%, respectively), and 81% of the podcasts examined can be found on all four of these sites.

Among the top podcasts studied here, 7% are exclusive to Spotify, which has been experimenting with exclusive rights deals. Spotify has a $200 million partnership with Joe Rogan to bring The Joe Rogan Experience exclusively to the site, and it has purchased several podcast industry companies. At the same time, however, Spotify recently canceled several exclusive podcasts and relaxed its exclusivity rules for certain podcasts. Less than 1% of top podcasts are exclusive to Apple.

A chart showing that About half of top-ranked podcasts have a video component

Podcasts originated as an audio-only form of media, but in recent years many podcasts have experimented with producing a video component, which may engage audiences in a different way. About half of top-ranked podcasts (51%) release some kind of video that accompanies their episodes, almost always on YouTube.

These videos take different forms. About three-in-ten top podcasts (29%) include video of the hosts recording the podcast itself. One example is Caresha Please, which, like some other podcasts, is recorded in an elaborate set, giving the podcast a unique visual brand. Spotify exclusive Call Her Daddy and Viall Files by Nick Viall, both of which are recorded in a studio, are other examples of this style.

One-in-five top podcasts have a video component that is a static (or mostly static) video. The SmartLess podcast is one example of this approach, with the podcast audio played over an image of the podcast’s logo and a simple soundwave animation.

Regardless of the format, YouTube is by far the most popular video-sharing platform for podcasts: The vast majority (97%) of podcasts with a video component make it available on YouTube. A small share of these podcasts use other sites, including 6% that use Rumble, the next most common site.

In addition to being available on major listing sites and video sharing sites, many podcasts use other methods to connect with their audiences. Roughly three-quarters of top-ranked podcasts have a website (73%). Podcasters use these websites to introduce their show, provide news and other updates to their audiences, share links to listing sites that host their show, and offer merchandise for sale.

Additionally, 8% of top podcasts have some kind of online discussion forum where their audiences can connect with each other, or even with the creators directly. For example, the true crime podcast Murder, Mystery & Makeup has a Discord server with about 27,000 members at the time this report was written.