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Frequently Asked Questions:

Stitcher Downloads Metric Update

Stitcher has made an update to the service that has resulted in changes to the way Downloads on Stitcher are tracked and reported. This FAQ is designed to answer additional questions you may have. If you don’t see an answer for a particular question you have, you can contact us at content@stitcher.com.


Q:  Why is Stitcher making this change?
A:  We are making this change at the request of partners looking to understand audience size relative to iTunes and other platforms. We currently only report actual Listens in our partner portal, a number that is an apples to oranges comparison number relative to iTunes.
Q:  What sort of change can I expect with this update?
A: The magnitude of the change may vary significantly from show to show but generally you should see an increase in Stitcher attributed downloads via your hosting provider’s stats dashboard as well as within the Stitcher Partner Portal.
Q:  What’s the benefit to me as a podcaster?
A: Stitcher listening stats should be accurately reflected via your media hosting provider. You will no longer have separate, incremental Stitcher metrics. Stitcher's Provider Portal will continue to provide you with additional advanced metrics beyond what typical hosting providers deliver. If you are working, or plan to work with advertisers, this change helps simplify the process. Your total audience size is now more accurately reflected, resulting in the ability to sell a larger audience.

Q:  Is this a one time bump or should I expect ongoing changes?
A:  There will likely be multiple bumps and gradual increases in the coming months - first when our updated iOS app was released and later when our updated Android app became available. Additionally, the numbers will vary as users update their Stitcher app to these new versions.
Q:  Is there a user facing impact to this change?
A: In some cases users may benefit from this change in the form of quicker show starts. Over time, Stitcher is looking for ways to more broadly and significantly increase this potential benefit.
Q: When will the change happen?
A: You should already see changes in your hosting partner metrics. You’ll now see these changes in the updated Stitcher Partner Portal as well. Note that the new ‘Downloads’ stat is only available from 6/17/2013 onward based on when this data began being tracked.
Q:  What about existing stats - will there be any changes?
A: Existing stats will remain the same and still be available in the partner portal. Note that the old 'Downloads' metric has transitioned to this new measurement and the old 'Downloads' metric has become 'Listens'.
Q:  How exactly are you now counting downloads?
A:  We’ve been extremely careful to examine how the iTunes family of products (desktop app, Podcasts app) behaves in order to accurately emulate the behavior only, rather than create a new metric of our own. Generally speaking, iTunes downloads new episodes that listeners subscribe to when the app is launched, a behavior Stitcher now emulates. More specifically:
  • On launch, Stitcher pings each show in the listener's custom playlists (in iTunes terminology "subscriptions"), emulating a download.
  • Stitcher stops doing this when it reaches 5 unheard episodes and resumes only when a listener listens to the show. Both these behaviors are consistent with iTunes.
  • If a show is played that is not in the listener's playlists, a ping is used to record a "download".