All year long, podcasting has been a hot topic in the radio business. But there are many issues dogging the growth of on-demand audio for radio broadcasters – the lack of metrics, compellingcontent, and a commitment from companies to support this still-embryonic platform.
Last summer, iHeart's VP of Podcasting, Chris Peterson, gave us his state of the platform, as well as predictions heading into 2018. I was on a panel with Chris at Morning Show Boot Camp last summer, and he was a featured speaker at our Podcast Movement sessions in Anaheim. He “gets” the space, and in our “Guest List” feature, offered up 5 big thoughts about where podcasting is headed.
We're back on Tuesday to start the new year with a fresh post. Have a safe and happy holiday. -FJ
The podcast industry has exploded in recent years. With each new study, we learn that even more people are consuming podcasts, and that awareness is growing at an incredible pace. But what does this all mean and what can we expect to see for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018?
Here are my five predictions:
1. Real Analytics… Finally
If you are a podcaster, you really have no idea who is listening or if listening even took place after the podcast was downloaded – until now. In January, iHeartMedia and Art19 partnered to announce the implementation of a groundbreaking API to share better analytics with podcasters on the iHeartRadio platform. This announcement was a major milestone for the podcasting world, as it marked the first time a platform would provide more detailed analytics with content creators, something desperately needed in the space. Since then, we’ve seen announcements from other platforms and content creators about sharing more data, which is great for the industry. However, we need to continue to push for even more data and an industrywide standard for podcast listening analytics.
2. Better Data = More Brands = More Money
Better data will open the floodgates to new advertisers that have typically shied away from podcasts due to limited listener analytics. In addition to just knowing who is listening to podcasts and how much of an episode is actually being consumed, the new Art19 API can also geographically and demographically target ads. At iHeartRadio, we’ve already seen increased interest from brands about podcasts and we expect this to continue across the board as the entire industry gets smarter.
3. Podcasting moves into the mainstream
Audio is a hot medium, it cuts through a world inundated with visual distractions, and major media companies that haven’t typically invested in a sound strategy are looking to podcasting to capture new, more dialed-in consumers. Over the past year, iHeartMedia has been further investing in new content, platforms and technology that place a focus on podcasting and we are seeing many other companies starting to do the same. And given our reach of more than a quarter of a billion monthly listeners across the country we have the opportunity to introduce podcasts to a massive audience.
4. “Alexa, play ____”
Smart speakers and virtual assistants are becoming commonplace, with players like Amazon and Google already in the game, and Apple shortly entering the scene. It won’t be long before every household has one. The podcast industry is primed to explode as these products become more widespread, giving the industry an opportunity to develop new content specifically tailored to the smart speaker. Earlier this year, iHeartRadio partnered with Spoken Layer, a company that turns web articles into audio recordings, now allowing consumers the ability to instantly get morning headlines from top publications just by asking their smart speaker. It is so easy to get short, snackable podcasts while you make coffee and get ready in the morning! A great opportunity for all content creators.
5. New Content for New Listeners
Speaking of the smart speaker, my 14-month-old daughter currently listens to kids’ music nearly all day long via our smart speaker and already will point to the speaker when she wants to hear the “hokey pokey.” If I were a betting man, I’d see this as a huge opportunity for parents looking to break up “screen time” and who would rather have their children tuned into a kids’ podcast instead – look for this area to explode with content soon.
On the other side of the coin, older listeners aren’t yet consuming podcasts, mostly due to discoverability problems and the challenges of teaching someone how to find what interests them. However, if you look at News/Talk radio listening, you notice there's a huge amount of people already listening to spoken word content – why wouldn’t they want to listen on-demand?
As we see more radio personalities and celebrities come into the space, it will bring in more people that have never listened to podcasts before. Our newest podcast, Label Defiers, hosted by radio’s nationally syndicated Elvis Duran, has featured mainstream celebrity guests including Miley Cyrus, Charlie Puth and Camila Cabello – all of which is great for awareness of the industry.