Radio may not be as popular now as they were more than fifty years ago, but the fact remains that people still listen. However, the means of consuming radio content has changed, as even traditional radio presenters are finding value in podcasts.
Podcasting has enjoyed enormous media attention as of late, thanks to the hit podcast “Serial,” which garnered more than five million listeners during the course of its first season. The New York magazine even declared that the digital audio world is now in a “great podcast renaissance” as more and more people listen and stick to the medium.
According to Edison Research, podcast consumers listen to an average of six episodes per week. Once they listen to a podcast they like, they tend to be devoted, subscribing to new and upcoming episodes with a click of a button. The very nature of the medium, which is personal and intimate, draws people for the duration of an episode, unlike other media online that have to contend with people’s attention spans. As a result, podcasting enjoyed a steady growth year-on-year.
Smartphones and other mobile devices, especially the iPhone, have driven the growth of the industry for the last few years because they made podcast consumption a lot easier. Aside from the default Podcast app for iOS users, other platforms for downloading and streaming podcasts have emerged as well, such as Audioboom Group PLC (AIM:BOOM), a free digital audio platform that enables the creation, broadcast, and syndication of audio content across multiple global verticals.
In-car technology is also contributing to the rise of podcasts in lieu of radio, as it allows people without smartphones to also have access to podcasts. According to industry group GSMA, 50 percent of new cars that would be sold this 2015 will have Internet connectivity. By 2025, all cars will also have this technology. “When that happens and there are podcasts in everybody’s car, it’s not podcasts anymore. It’s just the radio,” said podcast guru Jordan Harbinger.
Even media and marketing companies find podcasting a financially viable medium. For one, starting a podcast does not cost much, as amateur podcasts can be recorded in the comfort of one’s own home using a high-quality microphone and podcast creating software. For those who want to stage professional podcasts, equipment and editing may make overhead costs a bit pricier. However, there are various ways to monetize one’s podcast, such as ad sales, listener donations, and premium content.
In fact, podcast ads have pretty generous rates, selling at $20 to $45 per thousand listeners (CPM). This is huge compared to ads put up in other media, like the Internet, radio, and television, which tend to have CPMs within the $1 to $20 range. Many platforms are taking advantage of this rate, including Audioboom that allows the monetization of audio through the insertion of pre- and post-roll advertising targeted towards the content genre and geographic location of the user.
Podcasts are certainly well on their way to becoming the mainstream radio of this generation. Though there are still challenges especially with content monetization, investing in this burgeoning industry as early as now could possibly yield good returns in the future.
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