What’s up with Podcasting?

Unless you’re living in an audio void, odds are good you’re at least familiar with the term “Podcast” and know what it is.  According to Nielsen Research, about 70% of the US population over 12 years of age knows what a Podcast is.  51% of the total US population has listened to a podcast and amongst podcast listeners, the average weekly number of podcasts listened to is 7!  It should come as no surprise that the explosive growth in podcasting can be attributable to three things: 

-Smartphones/Smart Speakers

-Ease of recording and distribution

-Public appetite for compelling niche content not available anywhere else

Just like the incredible growth of VOD or “Video on Demand” and the popularity of “YouTube” for so much video content, the audio equivalent of “Radio on Demand” is Podcasting.  And even more simply produced, Podcasting can give anyone a voice that can be distributed in any number of ways.  It’s no surprise then that there are currently over 660,000 podcasts available thru a variety of digital outlets with the most popular distributor currently being the IOS or Apple platform.  (The podcast app is where you would find your favorite genre and shows). Even Pandora, Sirius/XM and Spotify are getting into the game of not only distributing podcasts, but also producing original podcast content.  Think Netflix for audio. And iHeart Radio is not only aggregating Podcasts from the variety of radio station shows across their platform, they’ve begun adding Podcasts to radio station content. Podcasts could be seen as the disruptor to radio as we know it today and are surely taking a significant number of listeners “off-air” to a digital stream decreasing the time spent listening to traditional “over the air” radio.  Some of the biggest podcasters actually got starts in radio, with Adam Corolla being the most popular podcaster to have come from a radio background. I’ll bet they wish they never fired him!  You may be aware of Trevor Noah, Joe Rogan or more likely Ted Talks. These are some of the more popular podcasts.  Even Sacramento’s very own Hanson-McClain “Money Matters” radio show would be considered a popular niche podcast.  (Hanson-McClain has recently re-branded to AllWorth Financial, and the show commensurately, Allworth “Money Matters”.)

Podcasts come in a variety of lengths and genres ranging from topics such as “Music”, “Society”, “News and Politics” or “Business” down to niche Podcasts in Real Estate, Self-Help, Automotive and many, many more.  Even the subsets break off in every imaginable direction.  No doubt, there’s a podcast for everyone today. 

Podcasts, as you would expect, are most popular on Smartphones but would you be surprised to know that nearly 50% of the listening is done at home?  In a vehicle represents 22% of the listenership and only 11% at work.  This is purely “choice” listening; Audio content that you can take with you…or not.  And as a result of this choice of content by the consumer, ease of access and simplicity, the growth has been phenomenal.  Podcast listening has grown 33% from 2017 to 2019 according to a recent report from Edison Research and Triton Digital. And there’s really no end in sight.  With the continued penetration of Smart Speakers in the home and easier to use Smartphones, this category of media has nowhere to go but up.

Of course, with that sort of growth, reach and frequency, it can’t help but attract the eye of any sharp marketer.  Not only is the Podcast arena now developing into a carrier of commercial content, but the actual Podcast itself is a great commercial tool for nearly any business wanting to get their message out, their way, in their own “word of mouth” marketing campaign.  More on that and “how to”… in our next insertion.

Jeff Holden, a 35 year broadcast veteran, is Principal of NewSense Strategies, Inc dba MultiPoint Content Strategies and Hear Me Now Studio, a full-service marketing entity specializing in audio content and Podcast production.  Contact him at [email protected].