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Podcasts and Media Consumption

30th April 2019

The way we consume media has undergone a dramatic shift over the last decade. Most of us seek our news and entertainment on our phones, dipping in and out in bite-sized chunks in our downtime or as we travel. Podcasts are perhaps the greatest signifier of this shift; with nearly 6 million young adults tuning in to at least one podcast a week, there’s a huge audience already engaging with quality, audio-based content every day.

Why are podcasts so popular?

Audio-focused entertainment is nothing new. It has simply adapted. The podcast can be looked at as the evolution of radio, using the versatility of the internet to bring regular, insightful content directly to the audience. In this sense, as a medium itself, podcasts already had proof of success before they became a mainstream adoption.
The on-demand, ubiquitous nature of podcasts, means they fit in perfectly with our modern, fast-paced lifestyle. There are so many dedicated podcast apps on iOS and Android that users couldn’t have an easier way of listening to their favourite podcasts and discovering new ones.

The development of smartphone technology and the mass consumption of media on the move is a perfect fit for podcasts. Someone can download a podcast app and find hundreds of shows across any genre. The focus on audio, too, provides podcasts with a major benefit over video content on mobile: people can multitask much easier while listening to something rather than watching it.

All of this has added up — in a relatively short period of time — to make podcasts a powerful media tool.

Podcast technology

With the rise in podcast apps and the growth of a mobile audience, the technology behind podcasts is becoming more focused around the medium, ensuring a better user experience all round. Spotify has hosted podcasts for a few years now, but in February 2019, the company announced an even greater focus on its podcast future, planning to spend up to $500 million on podcasts. This includes overhauling the discovery and overall user experience, as well as bringing in creators to the platform for exclusive shows.

Apple, too, has recently paid more attention to the accessibility of podcasts. While podcasts are largely a mobile experience, there is still an audience who may not have a dedicated app, or prefer to listen at home on a desktop or laptop. Now, Apple users can listen to a podcast directly from the show’s web page on Apple Podcasts. The overhaul to this system, while simplistic, is a positive step to helping an audience engage with podcasts more easily.

Can anyone have a podcast?

The simplicity of social media and services such as YouTube and Instagram has made it easier for anybody to upload content and find an audience. While this is the same with podcasts, there is definitely a lot to be said for the quality of established personalities broadcasting to their audience over the internet.

Firstly, the audience already exists. Say you are a huge fan of a particular celebrity and they announce that they are beginning a podcast; chances are you are going to tune in. You’ll be more likely to forgive or look past their inexperience with the format because you want to hear what this person has to say.

Conversely, the intimate nature of a podcast is a huge draw. It feels like the host of the podcast is talking directly to you, and this can make the audience develop an even stronger connection to that person. Like radio, but arguably more so, a talented podcast host can bring a sense of comfort to a show — a feeling that is strengthened if the listener is using earphones, for example.

Finally, the voice itself and the audio quality of the recording are essential factors. A professional podcaster, recording in a purpose-built studio with high quality equipment, is more likely to provide a better standard of recording than an amateur who records into a cheap microphone in their bedroom. It’s not a concrete barrier to entry, but it is an important consideration.

Have you heard?

Podcasts are a great way for established personalities to introduce their audience to another side of themselves, and bring a focus to topics that may be deemed taboo, uncomfortable or difficult in other formats.

Will Young, working with filmmaker Chris Sweeney, has been hosting the podcast Homo Sapiens, since July 2017, and has provided him with a platform to discuss personal topics in a more considered, natural and therapeutic manner. It is this approach that can truly resonate with an audience, and has helped to see Homo Sapiens reach 35 episodes — and counting.

Kruger Cowne work with a diverse range of talent across many different fields, who can share their expertise, experience and insight on technology with your audience through speaking appearances in person or by appearing on digital mediums such as podcasts. To find the right voice for your requirements, don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable team at Kruger Cowne today.

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