Podcasts are the new in thing since Lockdown 1.0

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The debate around content and original form are largely seen on video-streaming platforms that are shifting speedily to the audio streaming space.

Companies are concentrating on creating more podcasts, which are gaining popularity among users. Players are arranging for more original podcasts that are exclusive by collaborating with their network of creators as well as acquiring licensed content.

 Podcasts have been around for some while now, but their demand increased during the pandemic as the home-bound consumers wanted to experiment with varied content. With no new movies releasing, the consumers want content across different genres. Podcasts have been gaining popularity for some time now and their consumption has increased during the pandemic because the home-bound consumers experimented with varied content.

Spotify, for example, has more than 30 original podcasts in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu, with a preference for Hindi and English podcasts. A company spokesperson said that the curiosity around non-music audio like podcasts has increased over the year and listeners are shifting to podcast focussed on self-motivation, fiction, thriller, horror, mythology, and education.

The availability and ease of using the podcast creation and distribution tools like Anchor have led to increased creation and consumption of content across different languages, which has helped support the growth of podcasts, added the spokesperson.

JioSaavn has already built a library of podcasts of about 500 hours of original content across languages and is investing in shorter format podcasts, which are in sync with the present times to get more users. One such latest podcast is Working from Home. The strategy might have worked because the firm has increased its paid subscriptions by four times last year.

In the 2020 lockdown, we noticed listeners were not familiar with experimenting with podcasts but in 2021 they are listening to podcasts for hyper-specific reasons like to learn a particular subject, self-improvement, on-demand content, content across various genres, etc, said a company spokesperson.

Spotify and JioSaavn have expertly enabled users to socialize via their platforms and have introduced features that allowed them to share podcast episodes and music tracks with their followers via Instagram. Wynk licenses audio content from podcast creation platform Hubhopper and now has about 4,000 podcasts with 40,000 episodes in its music library with nearly 14 million songs. The Airtel-owned streaming platform with over 72 million monthly active users said listeners are preferring podcast genres like health, wellness, and spirituality.

With the growth of platforms, the need to differentiate will increase and will give rise to the need to acquire varied and original content said analysts at EY.

India ranks third in the podcast listening market with approximately 57.6 million users after China and the US, according to PwC analysts. They also said that the podcast listener base is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30.4% between 2020-2024 every month due to the entry of foreign players and original content on various topics like news, society, sports and culture.

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