In keeping with our is it dead/is it alive theme we seem to have developed in the last few weeks on the Curated blog, today's post looks at the rising popularity of podcasts.
Now, this isn't going to be an assessment on whether podcasts are dying, because frankly, it's impossible to say they are. Plus, if you're familiar with our content, you've probably guessed we quite like a good old podcast.
But despite our love for quality audio content, everywhere you look online these days, there appears to be a podcast. With virtually everyone cashing in on podcast renaissance, are the good ones going to be lost in in an ocean of content? And will their sheer number ultimately lead to their demise?
If you, like many of us, are fans of podcasts, then you may have noted the rise in the vast number of them with keen interest, and perhaps delight, as you tune in and out of series at your leisure. It cannot be argued that the podcast market is saturated. The joy of podcasts is that they can be used for everything. From marketing, cooking tips and film reviews - a quick search on any search engine will result in hundreds of podcasts being thrust in your general direction.
A quick look on Apple's iTunes immediately shows their popularity with the Apple app surpassing 1 billion subscriptions for podcasts. This alone shows that the creation of podcasts has become a major player in the world of content, the world of marketing and the world of digital media.
Marketers know that podcasts are effective. According to research from Stitcher, a podcast streaming service, the average listener will stay tuned to a podcast for 22 minutes. This provides companies advertising iPods to egg timers a way to reach out to potential buyers and know they will have listeners attention.
Edison Research into the American market shows that 32 million people listen to a podcast once a week, with over 25% listening to more than 6 a week. Indeed it would appear that podcasts are experiencing a golden age, with the average American listening to 12 hours worth of online content. The impressive bit is that with the increase in wearable tech and smart TV's, the popularity of the podcast is likely to increase.
It's quite simple to see why so many companies, celebrities and professionals are creating podcasts. They are relatively simple and cheap to create. Podcasts provide a different channel to spread their message, and can captivate and engage an entirely different message when compared to readable content. For a company, podcasts can attract new customers and raises awareness and overall online ranking.
There can be no doubt that the most effective podcasts create a connection with listeners. The popularity of Serial has led to a campaign to get a retrial for the convicted murderer as well as a growth in the number of online detectives. The most effective podcasts, like those created by Radiotopia, connect with listeners. Radiotopia listeners have a loyal fanbase, with the creator of Radiotopia Roman Mars saying "Radiotopia shows tend to feature hosts speaking softly, so close to the mic that it's like they're in your head".
Indeed, even the concept of Radiotopia, a host of podcasts under one banner shows the strength of the podcast, and the brand. Like a record label, Radiotopia is becoming a trusted name in podcasts which will automatically draw listeners in.
Many professional radio shows and stations are exploiting the surge in podcast popularity by producing high quality podcasts and increasing awareness to their brand. Radio shows are constantly utilising podcasts to gain more listeners, and to attract those who were unable to tune in initially. The question is though, can the popularity in podcasts continue? To put it bluntly, no.
The growth of the podcast can simply not continue to grow at the current rates. As cruel as it sounds, if you pardon the obviously podcast related pun, there is only so much that potential listeners can tune into.
Whilst companies are currently adding to their profile by creating podcasts and reaping some rewards as a result, the success of podcasts (unless they are extraordinarily popular, like Serial) are very difficult to measure.
It is almost impossible to estimate the return of investment for companies, and with thousands of podcasts created daily, the simplicity of creating them, and the number of firms, media groups and people making them, will arguably lead to a Darwinian survival of the fittest.
For a short time, podcasts will continue to grow as people crave to listen to what they want, when they want. But for the small fish in an ever growing pond, the podcast may just be a short term measure.
As popular podcasts continue to grow, the company run, commercial or alternative podcasts, may find that they are producing a podcast for no listeners. It is the podcasts that create the strongest fan base and connect with listeners will be able to continue, whilst the weaker, less effective podcasts simply crumble.
If you would like some help to develop your own podcasts, Curated Media can help. We work with lawyers and law firms to help fulfill their online content needs. Our team of experienced writers, lawyers, online marketers and web developers have the practical knowledge to curate, as well as create.