The Analytics on Podcast Delivery: Blubrry Went ‘Under The Sheets’

As was conducting a massive amount of research over the last year, one of the most compelling reports we uncovered was one conducted the Blubrry Team, as they looked at over 35,000 podcasts, and assessed whether users were downloading or streaming their podcasts. If you don’t know who Blubrry is, you should…and we recommend you check them out, especially if you are interested in searching their massive podcast registry/directory.

Editorial Note about Blubrry, from their website: They’ve created a Blubrry Podcast Directory, not trying to compete with other directories. Their main goal is to offer additional distribution points that otherwise are not available to podcasters. With this philosophy, they believe the Blubrry Podcast Directory fills the void where iTunes and podcasting is otherwise unavailable. is a podcasting community and directory that gives creators the power to make money, get detailed audience measurements and host their audio and video. Whether you are a media creator, advertiser or media consumer, Blubrry can provide the digital media interface.

Now back to the report. It’s a fascinating study, providing tremendous insight not just for industry insiders, but for the individual podcaster, as they learn to understand how and where audio-consumption is taking place.

Late last summer (2016), the report released on the PowerPressPodcast demonstrated:

60% of podcasts are downloaded for playback on-demand

In addition, here’s how they broke everything down:

Four main distribution categories’ of podcast consumption:

1. Mobile Apps Account For 71.6% Of Downloads

While this should also come as no surprise, the majority of podcast consumption comes from mobile apps. Podcast apps work in the background so that you can listen to them with ease and the new podcasts will automatically download. But again, their are SO MANY for consumers to choose from, they often get frustrated ( can help). The statistics from Blubrry measured over 30 different applications from all of the main app stores including the apps you can download from the store as well as the ones that come standard when you get your phone.

The iOS podcast app that comes with your phone accounts for 39% of mobile app downloads as well as streaming plays.

The app automatically subscribes its users for streaming but does allow them to download the new episodes automatically. About half of the content is downloaded and the other half is streamed.

2. Desktop Apps Account for 13.1% Of Downloads

Ever since the mobile platform has taken off, the percentage of desktop podcast consumption has continued to decline each and every year. They offer almost the exact same services as a mobile app would, except you need to be at your desktop in order to listen to them, so your mobility is limited. Once again, Blubrry measures over 30 desktop apps.

They found that the iTunes desktop application by itself helps to make up about 4/5 of the desktop app consumption.

3. Desktop Browsers Account for 10.7% Of Downloads And Streamed Plays

Overall, desktop web browsers account for a little over 10% of all podcast consumption, which is actually quite impressive when you consider that since 2005, that number has always ranged from 5% to 15%. Desktop browsers provide the user with a chance to listen to the audio right from the web page, the way allows you to ‘test drive’ shows on our site, within our Top 200 and our recommended picks. For this particular consumption data, Blubrry measured 15 different desktop web browsers such as Safari and Firefox.

In this situation, about 2/3 of the consumption is done by streaming while the remaining 1/3 is done through downloads. For this particular consumption data, Blubrry measured 15 different desktop web browsers such as Safari and Firefox.

4. Mobile Browsers and TV Apps Account For 4.6% of Streamed Plays

This percentage has been on the rise over the last several years but has recently started to plateau in terms of growth. The mobile browsers provide a great way to listen to the podcast within the browsers. If you do not have a phone that is capable of browsing, you can use the podcast URLS to playback in a built-in media player app. Playback in the browser or the media player results in streamed play.

Blubrry measured 25 different TV applications and mobile browsers such as AppleTV and Roku for the TV applications and Chrome on Android and Windows Mobile for the mobile browsers.

There are some mobile browsers that do allow you to download the content, but it is so rarely used that it is excluded from the data.

Measuring Stream Plays Vs. Downloads


When it comes to measuring the difference between a streamed podcast and a downloaded podcast, they are typically measured the same. When a player plays from the URL, it progressively downloads the file chunks. Those chunks then provide the player with a way to allow playback immediately by downloading the content in small chunks. One file will often yield many download requests at one time when the progressive download technique is being used.

Podcast downloads use a similar method known as byte range, which is the request made to download the data in chunks. Commonly, you will see a byte range request when downloading from a mobile application designed for podcasting. Since both a downloaded podcast and a streamed podcast appear the same on the server, both are measured the same way.

I hope this information has proven to be beneficial, and we thank Blubrry for providing such powerful analytics.  I hope we summarized it accurately for your edification purposes.