The number of podcast listeners increased to 67 million alone in the USA in 2017.Today, India is the third-largest podcast listening market. The growth in popularity of podcasts in India has been credited to the country’s long history of radio entertainment. According to PwC, as of February 2020, over 40 million of India’s nearly 500 million internet users listen to podcasts. The number has seen steady leaps with over 60% growth in listeners in 2018. A big reason for the rise in consumption of podcasts has been attributed to long commuting hours in major Indian metro cities. The highest consumption — 60% — has been recorded in transit in metros, revealed an Audioboom report.
It is widely attested that young people are more likely to listen to podcasts. Audioboom survey also revealed that the core consumer base of podcasts in India — 53% — lay between the age groups of 25 and 34. It is clear that podcasts are quite popular among millennial and Gen Z audience. Tremendous growth in the usage of smartphones and cheaper internet are also some factors that contribute in the rise of popularity of podcasts among listeners in India.
Industry giants such as Apple, Amazon Music, Gaana, JioSaavn, and Hungama that started off as music streaming platforms soon became inclined to podcasts. Newer entrants such as Stockholm-based music streaming app Spotify and Google-owned YouTube Music entered the fray in 2019. Companies such as Paytm, Aditya Birla Mutual Fund etc., invested in podcast advertising. Hubhopper, Pratilipi’s Alpha, etc., are some examples of podcasting platforms that are available nationwide. Joining the fray, Google launched a podcast app for Android with personalised content and recommendations. Audible, the world’s largest producer of downloadable audiobooks and a subsidiary of Amazon came up with Audible Suno, another popular podcast platform, has also embraced the Indian market.
According to sources, in 2019 alone, the podcasting events alone were able to generate over $55 million worldwide. This resulted in a rise in investments, including India. In the second half of 2019, Spotify acquired Anchor and Gimlet Media for a total value of $500 million. Spotify also managed to log over one million users in India in one week. Audioburst also joined Samsung and LG, Anchor offered podcasters sponsorship and Luminary, a podcast start-up, was launched with a funding of $100 million.
The podcasting culture gained immense popularity in India in the last decade, with more and more people across genres taking to the format. Here, unlike the visual medium, the only thing that matters is content. Podcast has also emerged as a very relevant medium because of its distinct advantages over other comparable mediums.
The popularity of podcasts is perhaps strengthened by the fact that YouTube, India’s most significant internet entertainment platform, is primarily used to stream non visual content. The top five genres in the world include news, comedy, business, education and entertainment. Podcasting, most definitely, has a promising future.