Podcasts Have Been Around for Years
On-demand listening became the sine qua non of the commuter, the lifeblood of dinner party conversation. Popular podcasters attract millions of listeners, and advertisers are starting to reap the rewards. And yet podcasts aren’t a brand new phenomenon. They predate Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, and the current RSS feed format was invented in 2003.
Google search trends show the use of the word podcast took off the subsequent year. But despite this history an eternity in the fast-paced digital age the podcast has been the quietest little brother of the technological era, biding its time as a social network and streaming giants’ clamor for attention.
A lot of people listen to podcasts because they want to learn something new and be entertained along the way – Alex Blumberg
Slowly, but surely, the industry has built up its following. Now, podcasts are everywhere. The quiet rise of podcasts The inconspicuous rise of podcasts is an unusual phenomenon in the world of boom and bust markets. Chris Sutcliffe, a content publisher at the Advertising Association, puts it down to Amaras Law, the idea that we overestimate the impact of technology in the short run and underestimate it in the long term.
Podcasts, he says, were considered unsatisfactory by early investors, who turned their attention to ventures that appeared more lucrative. However, the medium plowed on regardless, growing a loyal, but understated following.
The Serial Effect
The resurgence of podcasts is frequently credited to Serial, a wildly popular true crime series launched in the year 2014. Sutcliffe is wary of the so-called Serial effect, saying podcast audience has grown steadily through the years, but it’s difficult to deny the impression that podcasts have come back into vogue. Previously this month Acast, which hosts over 3, 000 podcasts worldwide, including comedian Adam Buxton’s hit show, secured $33m in its latest financing round.
Online magazine Slate has said it expects 40 percent of its revenue in 2019 to come from podcasts. Even the BBC, not known for its desire to embrace digital change, has put podcasts at the center of its offering on the new BBC Sounds platform.
On-Demand and High-Quality Content? Yes Please!
A democratic medium, The major factor behind this renaissance of on-demand audio is an explosion in top quality content, as publishers produce more engaging and polished shows. I think this year was a turning point for the United Kingdom, especially with regards to the breadth of more traditional content, says Susie Warhurst, global head of content at Acast.
Podcasting is accessible, with low entry costs making it easy for anyone to start their very own show. A few of the most famous shows worldwide are registered and edited on inexpensive equipment in the hosts home.
Furthermore, individuals who feel their views and perspectives are underrepresented in other regions of the media have an opportunity to restore the balance. It’s a very democratic medium, says Warhurst. People feel they do not need someone allowed to make great content, they can only go out there and have their voices and opinions heard.
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