The moment many podcasters have long been waiting for is here:
Google is now including podcasts in its Google Play Music app.
This could prove to be a watershed moment for podcasting. One year ago at the New Media Expo (which was colocated with the NAB in Las Vegas), Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations for Libsyn, pointed out that Google had done nothing to support podcasting.
Todd Cochrane, the CEO of Raw Voice / Blubrry, pointed out, “Google has never provided a native application or solution for directly listening to podcasts. The biggest advantage for Apple has been the native podcast app in iOS and the association of podcasting with iTunes.”
As a result, according to Rob, “70% of all consumption happens in either iTunes or Apple’s Podcasts app. (The Stitcher app is a distant number two with approximately 3% of listening.) This has lead many to speculate that the single biggest thing that could happen to podcasting is Google’s embrace of the medium.
Well, we’re about to find out.
Google invited podcasters to submit their shows to its directory several months ago; today, it made its new directory available to the public. The rollout in the Google Play Music app will be gradual, so it may take some time before you see the new directory on your Android phone.
The big takeaway here is that for Android mobile users, podcast access has been somewhere been arduous and clunky. That’s about to end, making it easy for “the other half” of smartphone owners to seamlessly access podcasts.
We just wrapped up Techsurvey12, which shows the percentage of respondents who have listened to a podcast or on-demand audio in the past month has grown year over year from 21% to 28%. Now that Google has embraced podcasting, we could see significant growth in next year’s survey.
Podcasting has been hampered by a bad brand label, and access issues. That second barrier is coming down, paving the way for 2016 to truly be “The Year of the Podcast.”