As most of my friends will tell you, I can tend to proselytise when it comes to podcasts. I badger people about whether they’ve listened to this show or that episode yet, which can be a bit awkward because most of my South African friends seem to prefer music in their cars. Also – I think people sort of warily wonder why it’s so important to me. Even I have to ask myself that sometimes. And the best I’ve come up with in the way of answers:
- I’m a nerd that gets so much pleasure from good podcasts that I just can’t believe that other people won’t feel the same way and therefore, I feel duty-bound to evangelise; or
- As more people get into podcasting, we’ll start to get even better podcasts, and there’ll be more of them. And we’ll get better podcasting apps – because in my world, Apple’s real failure isn’t Apple Maps, it’s their native Podcasts app, which is an abomination; or
- I was listening to podcasts before their “renaissance”, and I’m now overly-excited about the new waves of awesome audio content that keep swelling over my iPhone.
In September last year, I gave a list of podcasts that I was listening to (Seven Podcasts Worth Your Time). Since then, I’ve discovered new ones, and stopped listening to old ones, and my podcasting time has gotten way more interesting.
And I suspect this is partly due to reason 2 above. Podcasts are becoming so much more popular.
A graph from Edison Research:
And podcast makers are delighted because their native advertising rates are so much higher than standard radio. Here’s a quote from “What’s Behind The Great Podcast Renaissance?” in the New York magazine:
Producing an average podcast costs far less than producing a TV show or a radio show (all you really need is a microphone or two, a copy of Audacity or some other editing software, and a cheap hosting service for the audio files themselves). And the advertising rates on a successful podcast are big enough to pay for the costs many times over. Several top podcasters told me that their CPM (the cost to an advertiser per thousand impressions, a standard ad-industry unit) was between $20 and $45. Compare that to a typical radio CPM (roughly $1 to $18) or network TV ($5 to $20) or even a regular old web ad ($1 to $20), and the podcast wins. Podcasts can charge higher ad rates because of the personal nature of the single-host format — as an advertiser, it’s far better to have “Serial”‘s Sarah Koenig reading your copy out loud than to burst in with a prepackaged ad that nobody will pay attention to.
And the reason for this rising popularity?
Apparently, it’s the rise of internet-connected cars.
People in traffic are a captured audience – and increasingly, they’re able to trade their cable tv (radio) for netflix (podcasts). From personal experience, I can tell you that’s the reason I started listening to them. And the car industry expects 50% of cars sold in 2015 to have some sort of internet connectivity, with 100% connectivity by 2025 (here’s a pdf report if you’re interested).
The logical consequence of that: podcasts that I’ve been listening to for years are now joining up into podcasting “networks” like Panoply – which is only a step away from being Netflix in, like, actual fact.
I feel like the world of Radio is possibly about to experience some disruption.
Also, I suspect that the days of downloading free podcasts are rapidly approaching their end, and we’ll be limited to one of two options:
- You’ll be able to download the most recent episode for free (or a few of them) – but the back catalogue will be on a pay-per-episode model*; or
*this is the model already being used by This American Life and the two Dan Carlin podcasts
- You’ll have to pay your monthly subscription fees to the network, or a selection of the networks. Which will make me very very sad.
My apparent response is to download every single back episode of any podcast that I might like as though I were a child on Reggies Rush (or an adult on Supermarket Sweep).
It’s not rational. But *rushes off after discovering four new podcasts while reading articles on podcasts for this blog post*
Articles that might be of interest:
- Why Podcasting Is Bigger Than You Think (Edison Research)
- Here’s The Future Of Podcasting (Forbes)
- Remember Podcasting? It’s back – and booming (USA Today)
- The (Surprisingly Profitable) Rise Of Podcast Networks (Fast Company)
- Podcasts So Good You Want To Binge-Listen (The Atlantic)
- But First, A Word From 100 Podcasts’ Sponsors (FiveThirtyEight)
- Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter (Business Insider)
- Seven Podcasts That Are Worth Your Time (That’d be me – RollingAlpha)
Podcasts about podcasts:
- “The Podcast Renaissance” (FT Alphachat)
- “The Podcast Podcast” (Slate Money)
*also resolves to update list of good podcasts in a forthcoming post*
Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingalpha.
Tiisetso May 13, 2015 at 10:25
In the updated list of good podcasts, please can you include some South African (or any African) ones. I’m struggling to find any (good or bad)
Jayson May 15, 2015 at 06:53
TI! I haven’t really found any either.
But why don’t we start one? Once a week. We’ll hang out for an hour, drink coffee, record our gossip about the DA, the SARB, whether Woolies meals are worth it, mass panic, Eskom woes, and why people in Joburg are okay with chain-restaurants, and then post it on iTunes.
We could be the go-to SA podcast. Rolling Alpha: South Africa Matters. Or: RA-ZA-mataz.
And when podcasts catch on properly here (as they will), we’ll have a giant audience and start selling branded t-shirts.