What’s common between re-living historic folktales, being transported to dark allies of the underworld, and a catch-up session with your favourite celebrity, on their life? Podcasts. Though relatively young in India, podcasts have quickly found a loyal listener base, and have immense growth potential, given the immersive and intimate nature of the medium.
This can be attributed to several factors such as the democratization of smartphones, better data penetration, and rise of the streaming industry, desire for screen-free moments, and the interest in learning something new. 2020 has especially been a foundational year for not just consumption, but also the creation of audio content, as people spend more time at home, and look to experiment with audio formats given that they are less intensive and more convenient to use for almost everyone. There are four good reasons why podcast creators should embark on their content journey today.
India Is All Ears
The affinity for podcasts can be attributed to a few reasons. First, listeners want to be told a story and podcasting is one of the finest mediums for that. Second, listeners want to learn something new, and ] podcasts offer insights, whether that means learning a new language, or understanding how the technology works. In fact, Spotify’s Culture Next Report 2020 states that 86% of Indian parents who listen to podcasts feel that the medium has become a very helpful educational tool.
Additionally, 60% of millennials and GenZ surveyed stated that podcasts fueled their self-discovery. This goes to show India’s growing acceptance of the medium. And perhaps the most important reason for the affinity is that listeners want companionship, and audio is able to break beyond barriers of video, accessible across devices and as an accompaniment to the listeners’ other primary activities, say driving or cooking.
The Power Is In Your Hands – Quite Literally!
From a creator perspective, video content curators, social celebrities, radio hosts, and writers are already exploring the medium with great enthusiasm and that’s taking podcasting towards mainstream recognition. Given this surge in India’s creator community, wherein individuals across experience levels want to create audio content, it’s imperative to have tools that are easily available and convenient to use.
These tools are relevant for not only content creation and production, but also distribution. DIY platforms such as Anchor (Spotify owned company) is giving podcasting that much needed boost, and creators can accomplish much of it through their phones. In fact, for those who want to create content with their colleagues, friends, or business partners, Anchor even has an option to create podcasts through remote collaboration.
In 2020, there has been substantial growth in the number of creators who’ve used the platform. Within the year, 25,000 new podcasts were created on Anchor, from India.
An Ecosystem Built By Creators, For Creators
Every day, we see newer creators with great ideas and inspiring content. And then, there are those who have already spent time in the content – audio and visual – industry. Together, they have a myriad of ideas that can take shape and be developed into content for listeners. In that sense, it’s critical to build an ecosystem for creators, by creators, that encourages education, opportunities to pitch ideas, and regular interactions that enable creators to grow at pace with the industry.
Events such as Kommune’s Spoken Fest 2020, as well as the Anchor Online Bootcamps hosted by several renowned creators, including but not limited to Roshan Abbas, Ranveer Allahbadia, Pooja Dhingra, and Kalki Koechlin, who are powering creators’ minds with the right guidance and expertise to facilitate strong podcasting journeys.
A Limitless Future For Audio
India’s diversity in language and culture also opens exciting opportunities for podcast creators to dive into languages and more local culture, for regional consumption. While English dominates and Hindi is scaling up, content in regional languages will steadily grow too, as awareness and preference for podcasting expands across India.
There is a paucity of local content and there is a blue ocean opportunity for Indian podcast creators to replicate the global wave soon to build the early mover advantage. Take, for instance, the Anchor-powered Telugu podcast PURIJAGANNADH, which is already one of the top podcasts on Spotify India charts, among other local language podcasts in Tamil, Hindi, and Gujarati. These creators have access to data analytics that enable them to understand the demographics of their podcast consumption, and episodes that do better than the others.
In the not so distant future, creators in India will also be able to monetize podcasts, but for that it’s important to start today and build the listener base, so that brands want to associate with you when they are ready. In fact, 81% of podcast listeners report having taken action after hearing a podcast ad.
Besides advertising and sponsorships, other revenue streams could include subscriptions, events, merchandise, content marketing, contracts for branded podcasts, and individual listener donations. Bumble India, for instance, has created a podcast called ‘’Is Romance Dead’, which has clicked with the brand’s target audience.
The future of audio is bright, and it’s a fantastic time for creators to start thinking about their content, audience, and business strategy. In parallel, the audio streaming industry will play a key role in nurturing this talent, and accelerate the overall awareness and expansion of podcasts to make the medium a mainstream audio culture experience.