When we talk about the audio medium, then often what comes in our mind is Radio. A medium that not only introduced us to the songs and ad jingles but also discussed the everyday important news, and life hacks. It became a part of our life like a member of the family, a best friend in a love life crisis who would play your requested song for your loved ones. A channel of interpersonal communication but one-way.
With the advancement in technology, radio has become a cheaper medium which can be carried to places. The time changed, and so as the meaning of the medium. Radio being a transient medium was replaced by other media but never stopped serving its purpose. Private players came in, and the whole radio industry underwent a metamorphosis. In the times of 2020, where there is wider penetration of the internet, the audio medium has taken new shapes and forms. The culture of listening has changed, covering dynamic demography and geography. The preference of the audience and listeners have become multivariate, and so does the dynamics of the market. Now, with the power of the Internet, Podcasts are the new audio medium that not only just informs but educates. It has democratized content creation, audio production and distribution.
What is a Podcast?
Podcasts have become a new buzzword in India’s audio streaming industry. The bifurcation of the word Podcast stands for ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. Podcasts are taking the market with storm with their engaging, and highly informative content. If put in simple terms, one can understand it as a talk show or audio episodes that you subscribe to on an app on your digital device which you can listen to anytime and anywhere. There are many platforms as well which provide free podcasts. In India, there are many channels which provide exclusive content in Hindi.
Podcasts are far more than revamping Radio
Podcasts are often understood as a substitute for Radio. It is a wrong fact. Radio industry is different from Podcasts though both are audio mediums but serve different purposes. Radio stations are owned either by private entities or the government. Not any random person is allowed to speak anything on radio, as it is responsible to bridge a channel between the government and the public. It decides its content intact with the happenings in the society. Moreover, ads and Music is a crucial part of the radio and do not require the connectivity of the Internet.
But, podcasts are solely based on audios. The content is not required to serve any social obligation but must be intact with the culture. Though there is liberty on the content selection of podcasts, it has the responsibility to not to involve content that can hurt the sentiments of the listeners. Podcasts are Unfiltered that comes directly from the thinking and perspective of the producer. It promotes democratization of content. Anyone can produce the content and publish their audio podcasts for consumption for free. But, all you are required is digital devices and internet connectivity.
Podcasts in brief-
It empowers the creator to escape shackles of traditional radio formats to explore modern and unique approaches to create niche content.
- There are no time slots for podcasts. There can be any frequency, from daily to monthly. The length of a podcast can vary from a three-minute news snippet to two hour-long interviews.
- There is no fixed format. It can range from solo shows to behemoth multi-purpose audio dramas.
- They can cover ANY TOPIC, many of which would otherwise never make their way on the radio.
- Audio is a non-music content be it news, mythological series or any other genre.
Podcasts and India in 2020
The year 2020 not just marks another year for the audio streaming industry but is all set to rise, as communication is becoming more content-centric. If we go by the PwC report, there will be an exponential growth of the number of listeners from four crore in 2018 to 17.61 crore in 2023. India’s music, radio and podcasts market was worth Rs 5,753 crore in 2018 and has the potential to hit upwards of Rs 10,000 crore by 2023.
With the increase in the penetration of the internet, and the increasing consumption of platforms like Gaana, Spotify, JioSaavn and availability of exclusive platforms for free podcasts like Kukufm, and Google podcasts, people have the options to explore a variety of diverse content. The Podcast is a phenomenon that is spreading with the word-of-mouth. It is empowering people to create their content and reach out to other listeners. With the content being the king, podcasts can become a mainstream medium soon.