Podcast Hosting Reviews: Simplecast vs. Captivate.fm

3 min read

For any podcast creator, an efficient and reliable hosting platform is key to producing a successful show and building a strong following. With so many platforms to choose from, how do you know which is best for you?

Since you're here, you're probably considering either Simplecast or Captivate. While both offer various features that podcasters will find useful, the two are also quite different. Let’s take a look:

Subscription Packages

The subscription packaged between Simplecast and Captivate don’t seem too different on the surface, but the details really matter. For our Basic tier, we offer podcast creators a $15 plan, capped at 20,000 downloads, while Captivate offers a $19 plan, with 12,000 downloads. This works out to $0.00075/download from Simplecast, versus $0.0016. On Simplecast’s Essential tier, it’s $35/50k, or $0.0007/download, while Captivate sits at $49/60k, or $0.00082/download.

It’s true, Captivate does offer unlimited shows per plan, while Simplecast does one show per plan. We built our plans around the actual behavior of our customers–we didn’t find too many customers who were juggling two or more shows with under 10k downloads each, so it didn’t make sense to structure our base plans that way–especially when the average show on Simplecast has 10k downloads. We’re built for podcaster success, which means that the unlimited shows model doesn’t work for our creators–because they quickly outgrow their plans!


Every podcast creator wants to see tangible results–after all, how else would they be able to improve?

Captivate offers some basic download analytics that most podcast creators expect–the download overviews and device types shown below. Simplecast is proud to constantly innovate and offer things like Unique Listeners, and web player analytics that include completion and drop-off rates, as well as embed referral information.

IAB Certification

Of course, all the available listener data in the world doesn’t mean anything if you can’t tell if it’s real or not. In the same way that a “video view” can mean a lot of things across a lot of different social media platforms, a podcast download, up until recently, could mean just about anything. Wildly different definitions of a download meant you could see huge decreases when switching podcasts hosts, or accidentally be giving prospective advertisers wildly inflated data. Luckily for podcasting in general, the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) stepped in to give us some consistency. Podcast host can currently be either IAB compliant, or IAB Certified, the different being that compliance means you just say you’re following IAB’s recommendations, while Certification means they actually check to make sure you’re doing it. It’s kind of like the difference between something that’s “inspired by real events” and a documentary.

Simplecast has recently received IAB Certification–we want to help podcasters succeed, and that means making sure they’re able to stand behind their data 100%. As of December 2019, Captivate is not certified.


When creating a podcast and hosting it on a particular platform, you might have some questions and need help along the way. Captivate is from Rebel Base Media “the same team” that runs Podcast Websites, Poductivity, Podcast Success Academy, and Podcast Design Studios. They sound busy! We always suggest creators search platforms like LinkedIn to see how large a support team is at a given company, especially if creators expect dedicated customer support and continual improvements to their hosting platform! We’re proud to have a dedicated support team of five, and over ten engineers–plus we’re growing all the time! This means that we can offer 1:1 support assistance seven days a week over live chat, and that we’re constantly rolling out updates.

Have more questions about podcast hosting? Feel free to drop us a line! And if you do decide on Simplecast, use code CAPTIVATE for 50% off your first two months when you sign up.