In 1979, "Video Killed The Radio Star" topped charts as the anti-anthem to the rise of television and marked a significant evolution in how we would consume media in the years to come. Fast-forward, the likes of streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and more may have killed the radio star, but podcasts may be the dark knight for all things audio.
According to Forbes, in 2020, an estimated 100 million people listened to a podcast each month, expecting growth to reach 125 million in 2022. The medium has also recently seen significant acquisitions, such as Spotify's purchase of Gimlet Media.
Critics across the globe called this the Gold Rush era for podcasts with over 900,000 podcasts to choose from – audiences are spoiled for choice. Do podcasts have what it takes to avoid the same fate as their audio predecessor? Find out how podcasts continue to innovate and stay ahead of the media landscape.
Thanks to COVID-19, we have had to adapt and change our regular routines. The change in our habits has led to changes in our consumption of media. We did not have early morning commutes to listen to music or the radio in the car for a while. However, these changes due to the pandemic are not the only things that have changed how we consume media.
The technology available to us has also changed how we consume media. Our car radios have Bluetooth, AirPods and other in-ear headphones are all the rage, and home AI systems like Google Home and Alexa are must-haves too. We are absorbing more and more content with our ears, making podcasts extremely easy to consume and enjoy.
FLEXIBILITY FOR ONE'S AMBITION
Unlike radio, podcast creators are not restricted by a time limit. They can afford the luxury of freedom that digital video creators had. The lack of networks and broadcast stations has allowed creators to explore making content that can be controversial or "inappropriate" to the masses. Podcasts use a modest budget and have a quick turnaround time, enabling more risk-taking.
Podcasts have barely scratched the surface yet as a medium, making an excellent training site for creativity to be challenged and storylines to be tested out to the public. Creatives can use podcast shows and ideas as proof of concept for their ideas to grow.
IT'S A MATCH
With so many options available, it is no doubt that not one shoe fits all. Similar to Netflix creating niche shows like a glass-blowing competition show, podcasts have the chance to create niche content for their audiences.
This opens up doors for advertisers striving to be more targeted and effectively spend their ad dollars. About 80% of listeners finish almost an entire podcast episode. The drop-off rates for listeners are considerably less for podcasts than other platforms, such as YouTube, making podcasts a desirable platform for advertisers and listeners alike.
A MULTI-TASKING MEDIUM
Podcasts continue to adapt to our new lifestyles; they are more qualitative, and the lack of visuals works well with our connected way of life. Studies worldwide show podcast usage most often coupled with another activity – walking, taking public transport, driving, hanging up the washing, and working.
With podcasts sharing the same on-demand and diverse options as video streaming services, consuming personalized audio content for your own needs is easier than ever. Whether you are looking for a quick news recap or a two-hour interview with a psychic medium, podcasts provide many options that you can inject into your daily routine.
So do podcasts have the means to outlast the video star?
With so many platforms such a Luminary, RadioPublic, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and more, podcasts are more accessible than ever. The lack of a subscription model and the need for additional equipment makes listening to a podcast almost free and easy, allowing almost anyone to listen in on a podcast. While creatives continue to explore podcasts' limitations, we can expect more diverse and niche content to be produced through the next few years. The big podcast boom has just started, and where it goes is now steered by creatives and companies that choose to invest in them.