What Is The State Of Podcasting?

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Voxnest is out with a new report that states 2018 has been a breakthrough year for podcasting. The report highlights the need for the industry to find ways to grow listeners faster than its growing content and states we will we see more big brands move into the podcast space due to improved metrics.

What were the three biggest breakthroughs in 2018, according to Voxnest?

  1. Growing mainstream attention bringing more investment in high-quality content
  2. Advertising infrastructure taking shape with IAB Podcast Measurement Guidelines
  3. Big tech bringing in new investments to grow the medium

Every day we hear from big companies who are releasing new podcasts. They see how engaged listeners are when they make an effort to download a show, put it on their device and listen. It is not passive listening – and that is very important to advertisers. These shows are professionally produced and marketed. And, as the Voxnest study points out the already crowded podcasting playing field is only going to get more crowded with its low barrier for entry. But, right now, content creation is outpacing listener growth.

From the report: “According to Edison Research’s annual Infinite Dial reports, the number of monthly podcast listeners increased about 9% from 2017 to 2018 (67 million to 73 million). Because there’s a relatively low barrier to entry to creating podcasts, this increase in demand has been accompanied by a supply of new shows. Clearly, growth on the new content side is outpacing that on the audience side, and that’s leading some to question whether all this content can realistically find an audience. If podcast history serves as a guide, there will eventually be a balance. One just needs to remember that podcast audience can’t be – and shouldn’t be – measured in comparison to “mainstream” media.”

The report goes on to say this does not mean podcasters can simply build it and wait for audiences to come. “In 2019 and beyond, as more and more content is available, it will be increasingly important to include audience growth tactics in podcast strategy overall. Podcasters will be looking to get in all the new music service platforms while also expecting more promotional support from the major podcast hosting platforms. Those platforms providing this level of support will prove challenging to do across thousands of podcast shows.”

So what’s ahead for podcasting this coming year. Voxnest highlights 5 key areas.
1. With Standards in Place, Podcast Advertising Goes Mainstream:
As more podcast hosting platforms undergo the extensive and expensive verification for the IAB v.2 Podcast Metrics Guideline certification, advertisers’ confidence in podcasting will grow. Armed with analytics that show real, growing ROI, 2019 should be a breakthrough year where more big brands turn to the medium to reach and engage audiences. Meanwhile, as the year progresses, the emphasis on audience metrics as the competitive feature that business models are built on, the industry can get back to competing based on the quality of the content.

  1. More media companies Pivot to Audio:
    Following disappointing returns on their Pivots to Video, we project the relative ease and much lower cost of podcast production will bring more non-audio content publishers such as newspapers and magazines onto the podcasting bandwagon. The Washington Post is already paving the way, with a library of 14 original shows including its most ambitious yet, a 20-minute daily news podcast called “The Post Reports.” And showing their belief that the medium is a revenue driver, the media company has developed its own ad insertion technology, Rhapsochord.
  2. Fictional Storytelling Podcasts Increase in Popularity
    While 2018 saw bigger producers focus on fictional storytelling, 2019 will see these types of productions grow even faster, with the release of more independent productions from smaller podcasters. While the more traditional, reality-based podcast production will remain popular, it’s this upsurge in fictional podcasts that will bring new excitement to the medium and new podcasters into the fold.
  3. Large Distribution Platforms Compete for Market share:
    2018 saw Spotify successfully enter the podcasting space, and that resulted in solid growth of their market share. With other players now getting in the game including Google and Pandora, the field will become more competitive. With Apple’s de facto dominance in the space, Google has the highest hurdles to overcome as listening on Android continues to lag far behind. Their biggest opportunities lay in adding support for Google Podcasts in Chrome browsers and creating a full native Android app that can provide a listening experience on par with that of iOS.
  4. Podcasting gets its Own Global Trade Association:
    While an attempt to form an organization 10 years ago, The Association of Downloadable Media (ADM), was unsuccessful, the industry’s maturation and increasing complexity warrants a second try. With a “big tent” organization that takes the needs of all stakeholders into consideration and collaborates on standards and best practices, we can accelerate our growth – both from the listening and the advertising sides of the industry. As a podcaster’s audience grows, it’s fun to sometimes visualize what your audience size looks like. Here are some images of crowd sizes.

Take a look at the entire 14-page Voxnest study HERE and let us know your thoughts below

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