Chennai: One of biggest platform for content creators in the 2010s was podcasting. As we enter a new decade, the thirst for podcasts continues to thrive across the globe. In the report, ‘Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019-2023 India’ by PWC, it found that growth for podcasts ‘is set to continue over the forecast period with listener numbers set to increase at a 34.5 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 176.1 million by 2023’.
The report also noted, ‘podcast listening has increased markedly in India in past few years. Monthly listeners (defined as people who listened to at least one podcast in the last month) totalled 40 million at the end of 2018, up a sharp 57.6 per cent from 25.4 million in the previous year.’ It added, ‘The above point makes India the world’s third-largest podcast-listening market (after China and the US), although it ranks much lower on a per capita basis.’
The report however noted that ‘podcast advertising activity in India remains at a low level with very little content directly monetised’. Advertising revenue totalled $7.2 million in 2018, up from $0.5 million in 2014. ‘But more brand communications spend will be attracted to the format as the audience grows and advertising revenue is set to rise at a 58.9 per cent CAGR over the forecast period to reach $72.9 million in 2023,’ it said.
While content creators aim to make a dent in podcast arena, several news agencies are slowing making headways in this field. In the recently released report, ‘Journalism, Media, and Technology Trends and Predictions 2020′ by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ), the authors speak about the growth for podcasts in media industry.
‘Bigger audiences, better measurement and easier access have combined to change the economics of news podcasting. In turn this is encouraging publishers to invest in creating more quality content and platforms to invest in better distribution and monetisation, in a virtuous circle of growth,’ the report said. ‘Publishers see podcasting as a chance to attract younger audiences, build habit and bring in additional revenue.’
As news agencies tap into podcasts, they have also started converting their articles into audio content. The RISJ report found, ‘Improved technology is enabling new opportunities for publishers in quickly reversioning text output into audio. In Canada, the Globe and Mail is one of the first publishers to use Amazon Polly, a text-to-speech service that sounds far more natural to the human ear than previous versions. Subscribers can listen to selected articles in English, French, and Mandarin and choose their favourite voice.’ Here in India, moneycontrol.com has options for readers to listen to their articles using ‘Trinity Audio‘, an audio content solution.
The RISJ report also explained about the potential for regional languages. ‘Much of the action so far has been confined to the US and a handful of English-speaking countries but this is set to change,’ it said. It’s quite obvious that in a country like India with hundreds of millions of people owning Internet powered smartphones, the access to audio and video content is incredibly huge.
To tap into this arena, several top Internet giants like Google and podcast platforms like Spotify provide creators the platform to enrich their content. Google Podcasts Creator Program started a 10-part instructional video series to support early-stage podcasters around the world. It even offers support of local content in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali and Marwari.
RISJ also researched how several podcast platforms are having a turf war to gain more listeners. ‘Apple’s dominance over podcasting is being eroded by Spotify, which has invested $500 million in improving discovery and acquiring original content,’ said the report. ‘It has doubled its market share in the last year in many countries and is looking to become the dominant platform for podcasting within a few years.’