Podcasts have existed on the web for nearly a decade and a half, and pretty much in the same way you know them now: pre-recorded audio files of spoken word shows that you can download, stream, and play on any internet-connected device.
Spotify's recent acquisition of Gimlet Media and Anchor means things seem like things could change for the listener in a big way.
Right now, you can use virtually any podcast app to listen to virtually every show that's available right now – anywhere in the world. Only a handful are exclusive to certain platforms, or are behind paywalls.
On hearing about Spotify's big move, I was concerned that the current experience for listeners may change drastically. I would like to say that this is not the case, but that content creators are willing to spend more or less.
To learn my fears were warranted, I spoke with Amit Doshi, Founder at CEO of IVM Podcasts, the largest podcast network in India with more than 60 shows under its belt. According to Doshi, these developments are a good thing for the podcasting universe at large, and are not anywhere close to entering the golden age of podcasting, from the perspective of creators and listeners alike.
You're underestimating what's going to come next.
The more that different entities (creators, networks, and platforms) compete for their attention, the better off we are in the long run.
So what does the golden age of podcasting look like?
We're now spoiled. Doshi agrees with me in the situation with television, where you have a plethora of excellent shows from around the world, accessible via a range of streaming services at various price points for choice when it comes to deciding what to watch next. It's come to a point where we need tools like JustWatch, which is assisting in discovery and discovery across services. For a die-hard TV fan, this is heaven: they can invest as much as they like for top-shelf content to be delivered directly to them.
To get there, the industry wants naturally need money. Aside from the $ 659 million that brands are expected to spend on podcast advertising by 2020, Spotify is slated to spend some $ 500 million this year to expand its efforts into this space (which includes the $ 230 million deal for Gimlet Media) – something that CEO Daniel
The other piece of the puzzle is discovery: how do people find podcasts they'll enjoy? According to the bite-sized podcast platform Anchor, Apple podcasts drives 52 percent of listeners – and it's not really a discovery platform, it's a good one.
All of the people in the industry are excited about this news. It's still early for the podcasting industry, and we have a tremendous task in front of us to grow listenership. As the CEO of Pocket Casts, I'm so excited; podcast aficionados, who listen to an average of 10 hours per week. As a premium listening platform, we want and need the ecosystem to grow. Many of these new listeners want to become committed podcast fans. 'A rising tide lifts all boats,' as they say.
From the sound of it, it seems like there's plenty of podcast fans to look forward to: Doshi is confident that we ' [See also bigger picture, better, and more varied shows.]
As for my concern about shows being swallowed up by ads, he explains that shows need to be truly memorable and valuable in order to garner an audience, and mindlessly tacking on commercials only gets in the way of that. Smarter methods of earning revenue, like high-value targeted ads and exclusive rights for streaming platforms, can help with the bottom line without ruining the end product. So the mission of winning listeners over-producing content is not going to happen anytime soon. "
And if you're already tuned into the world of podcasts, do not touch that dial – it's just going to get easier.