Saturday, Sep 21, 2019 | Last Update : 04:24 AM IST

Podcasts can influence

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRATYUSHA CHATTERJEE
Published : Mar 13, 2019, 1:36 am IST
Updated : Mar 13, 2019, 1:36 am IST

You need not be a technology pro to enjoy your favourite story. An app can prove to be more useful and influential than audio-visual or print medium.

For those who are still new to the concept, podcasts are small episodes relaying a story part-wise.
 For those who are still new to the concept, podcasts are small episodes relaying a story part-wise.

People are always running the rat race.  A good night’s sleep often becomes a weekly thing for a majority of professionals. Nandita, a publicist, listens to make-up and fashion podcasts while she gets ready to work and listens to personality development topics while on her 1 hour long way to office. While on her way home, she enjoys listening to crime documentaries and paranormal stories. Similarly, Rema, a nanny with corporate daycare crèche, listens to babycare podcasts while she takes the bus to her office premises at 9am in the morning. On their commute to work, millennials prefer listening to self-development and general knowledge an news podcasts, while they prefer entertainment genres on their way home.

The rise of commute hours in India has given ways to new consumption patterns and the demand for newer forms of storytelling with snacky (short-tale) content and long-tale content which is broken into sessions. From students to corporate leaders, the majority of the audience is demanding the original (non-repetitive) and vernacular content while commuting to work. Brands like Spotify, Hubhopper, Google Podcasts, Castbox are reaching out to a wider set of audience. As witnessed by Hubhopper, India’s largest podcast directly, people prefer listening to Self-help, spiritual and knowledgeable content during 8 -11 AM, where as being they prefer to be entertained with genres like mystery, thriller, comedy, drama, etc. while on their way home during 5-8 PM. As per a 2017 survey by Netflix, Indians are 82 per cent more likely to stream content at 9am, a behavior that continues on the ride home, too, as peak streaming in India is at 5pm. Even the brands are putting their faith in advertising with these platforms during these prime hours.

For those who are still new to the concept, podcasts are small episodes relaying a story part-wise. To launch or listen to a podcast, one does not have to be ‘tech savvy’. One simply needs to install the app and browse across interest categories. Today’s digital podcasting infrastructure has been designed even for even those who are unfamiliar with technology, believes Gautam Raj Anand, Founder and CEO, Hubhopper. He says, “In the last two years, there’s been a 4x increase in podcast consumption, and a 5x increase in awareness of podcasts worldwide. At present, the Indian podcast market is growing amid immense competition from content aggregators. As content marketing is expected to reach a $313 billion valuation this year, there is great expectation from the podcast industry to establish a strong stake in the growth of new media market. This will be facilitated through forms of content that can appeal to wider audiences in a medium that allows them to consume while multi-tasking and express freely, without having to focus on the superficial elements of video quality etc.”

But the big question remains. A book-lover will always love the texture, the smell or even the look of a book and may even feel that a audio episodes or audio visual relaying culture of podcasts cannot replenish the feel of reading a story. The CEO disagrees. According to him, “The print industry suffers from certain limitations regardless of its definite following considering the limited amount of information through mediums such as newspapers that cannot be easily accessed, as is the case with a click-and-go kind of file. They also fail to incorporate new-age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, etc. to offer personalized, curated content delivery to audiences. As a result, there is immense scope for the podcast industry to acquire a substantial stake in the user base of print in the coming years. Even print publications are slowly branching out into the audio sphere and experimenting with podcasts.”

In some cases podcasts prove to be more useful and influential than any other version such as audio-visual or print medium. Gautam shares, “Millennials are one of the heavier user segments of podcast services as compared to other audience segments. Considering their multi-tasking abilities, they prefer staying informed on-the-go. Since, both print and audio-visual content demand special attention, podcasts have emerged as a viable option for them. Listening, unlike looking at a written page or a video, is more effective as the brain processes the information at a faster pace. Podcasts make content consumption easy because audio can transform between active and passive as needed. It is hands-free in nature and does not necessarily stop one from doing other work while the content is being consumed. Podcasts also enable its listeners to build their own images of the story in their mind, which is something that can never happen with audio-visual or print media.”

However, Podcasts or the ‘passive content’ industry is undeniably going to witness incredible growth in the next five years. India ranks second in the list of countries spending time to consume content the most, and a rise in the ownership of smartphones has led to an astounding 17-folds increase in the consumption of content. Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives and we use it for around 70% of our active daily time. There are times when we cannot use it to access content actively—for instance when we are driving, charging the phone etc. Passive content has emerged as a solution here.

There has been an incredible growth in consumption as well, and due to this, various new platforms emerged last year itself. In fact, the industry has witnessed an unbelievable growth of 2400% in the last two years. And the thirst for such content as well as aggregating platforms is only going to enhance in the years to come.  

Hubhopper envisions   growing parallel with the growth of the industry and keeping making the process simpler and more beneficial with an optimum quality of content and soon emerging as one of the best content-disseminating platforms that the world of internet has to offer. Anyways, folk! All that matters is that however you feel like you keep your passion alive in this dark emulsified world. Your passion may be the only green amongst all the gray present. So, at times indulge in enjoying your quality time by podcasting not may be not whichever makes you happy.

Tags: podcasts, google podcasts, hubhopper