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Hello Folks, here’s the 4th edition of the weekly roundup.
Who’s your audio daddy?
Seth Resler, Digital Dot Connector at Jacobs media wrote an interesting post on why radio broadcast companies should hire a Director of Podcasts. After a fair bit of thinking, I think all media companies should hire a director of podcasts, especially publishers.
Podcasting is growing, there is no doubt about that. But the question is at what pace? I’d wager that this question won’t be answered anytime soon. But regardless, publishers are flocking to podcasts in search of potential audiences. The New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Guardian, and hundreds of other major publishers are building thriving podcasting operations. Even in a country like India where the podcasting medium is in an embryonic state, publishers such as Indian Express, Newslaundry, Moneycontrol, Bloomberg Quint, BBC India among others have started podcasting. Even platforms like Medium and Substack are getting in on the action.
The entrance of big names into the space also serves the purpose of expanding the audiences which smaller publishers can piggyback on.
The beauty of podcasts as someone described is that it is an in-between medium. Most podcasts are consumed in between things people are doing such as commuting, working out etc. I mostly consume podcasts when I commute between my home and office and I am totally tuned into the shows I listen to. That’s an incredibly valuable spot for publishers to be in. Loyalty is also a key advantage when it comes to podcasts. According to the 2018 Infinite Dial Report, 80% of the respondents listen to all or most of an episode.
Brands have also started getting in on the podcasting action. Major brands such as GE, Netflix, Tinder, Reebok, eBay, Microsoft among others have started branded podcasts. This also raises a lot of ethical question which we will grapple with in our future editions.
Now that Google is finally serious about podcasting, it can potentially double the audience size worldwide. 75.9% of all smartphones globally run on Android. This means that in the next few years podcasts are poised for exponential growth, all things considered.
To sum it all up, podcasts can potentially be a source of audience growth for media companies. Smaller audiences can also potentially be an advantage for financially stable publishers in countries such as India if they are willing to stick it out. The payoffs can be incredibly lucrative when the audiences start growing.
So yeah, it’s time for you to find an audio guy for your company.
Podcasters have a habit of making things difficult for themselves. Something as simple as the choice of the link used to share a podcast can potentially mean losing out on listeners. The sharing experience has always been broken. The question of which link to use – Apple or Google when sharing on social media has always been an enduring one. Dan Misener in this rather prescient piece explains how to use smart links to automatically redirect people to the respective platforms based on the device.
What is WordPress up to?
I suspect that this move may somehow tie to the companies interest in media. Automattic had acquired Longfrom and Atavist Magazine some time ago.
WordPress.com also recently released a slew of updates to make hosting podcasts easier. It will be very interesting to see what the company intends to do with podcasts. I will most definitely be keeping an eye on these folks.
Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, spoke to Kara Swisher on the Recode Decode podcast recently. If you are interested in knowing more about WordPress, I highly recommend that you listen to this episode.
Comedian and actress Lauren Lapkus spoke to Microsoft’s AI chatbot Zo on her podcast, Raised by TV. It was a really funny exchange, you can check out the conversation here.
As for Zo’s ability to mimic human speech patterns, Lapkus was particularly surprised when the bot threw out a resounding “YAAAAS QUEEN” during their chat. “Hearing Zo say it really added a new level to the phrase,” says Lapkus. “She was also pretty sarcastic with me, which really, really hurt my feelings and I still haven’t gotten over it.” – Fast Company
A podcast hosted by an AI bot? Doesn’t seem all that implausible, we’ll keep our ears peeled.
Do we really need to reimagine podcasts for India? Karthik Vijayakumar, host of the Design Your Thinking podcast says, yes.
Given the strong history of radio in India, the current popularity of FM Radio and the massive changes in the technology that India has witnessed in the last 3 years, I think the answer is a Yes.
Podcasts, as they exist in the west, may not just work as it is in India.
In this sweeping article, he looks at the history of Radio in India and how that influences the podcasting habits in India.
Voices From India
iTunes, Google Podcasts and podcatchers like Castbox are not the only sources of podcasts. Here are some alternatives where you can discover good podcasts
Yes, the music streaming service is also home to a number of original audio programming under the banner of Saavn Originals. The standout among them are Trial by error, a Serial styled gripping true crime drama based on the Aarushi murder case, Kahaani Express by Neelesh Misra, and No filter Neha, hosted by Neha Dhupia among others. The podcasts are however available to subscribers only. Fun fact: Saavn is actually an acronym for, wait for it – South Asian Audio Visual Network!
The music streaming service of Bookmyshow also features podcasts. The platform has a great library of original programming on JukeBox including Sports Trippin’ – a roundup of the biggest stories from the world of sports.
A subscription-based service, that offers audiobooks, e-books, and other original programming similar to podcasts, packaged as audiobooks.
3Things – The flagship daily news show of Indian Express podcasts hosted by the brilliant Neha Mathews celebrated a hundred episodes, yay! Here’s to many more!
Simblified – The 100th episode of Simblified, IVM’s show that aims to make you smarter, hosted by the brilliant trio of Chuck, Naren, and Srikeit, is going to be recorded live on August 25th, 2018 at Doolally Taproom – Khar, Mumbai. Details here, RSVP now!
Know Your Kanoon
Hosted by lawyer AmberRana, every Wednesday, this show answers questions about laws, rights, and policies to bring in clarity about the legal justice system in India.
Kieran Read’s Bedtime Stories
Kieran Read, captain of the New Zealand national rugby team launched this podcast to help you put your kids to sleep.
The Indignities of Being a Woman
Merrill Markoe and Megan Koester in this show will explore what it is like to be a woman in the 21st century.
In this episode Rajkummar Rao, the critically acclaimed actor talks about his beginnings, his journey to becoming an actor from the stage to the silver screen, his role in Newton, what he thinks about brand endorsements, the problem with censorship, and the importance of secularism.
The Intersection – Our Plastic Addiction Is Destroying The Planet
Did you know, of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic produced till today, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste and ONLY nine percent of this has been recycled? Find out more about how plastic is causing serious damage to our ecosystem and what we can do about it, in this episode of The Intersection, Audiomatic’s flagship podcast!
The Memory Palace
One of the best short podcasts out there, The Memory palace is a repository of surprising stories of the past, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hysterical, often a little bit of both. If you appreciate history, you’ll definitely love what the podcast has to offer.
Nick Quah on The Substack Podcast
Nathan Bashaw, VP of product at Substack spoke to Nick Quah, who runs Hot Pod – the newsletter of record for the podcast industry. I have been a great admirer of his writing and the clarity with which he covers the space is phenomenal. If you are a podcaster or even interested in podcasting then you should definitely listen to this episode.
Silly things investors do – The Curious Investor
Dan Villalon and Gabe Feghali talk to Nobel Prize winner, Richard Thaler and behavioural economist, Nicholas Barberis about the most common biases that afflict investors. This is thoroughly enlightening.
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This was a pretty news-heavy week but here are some of the most important stories.
Between the pages
Steve Pratt, co-founder of Pacific Content had an interesting piece where he writes about how podcasts have more in common with books than any other medium. He says that podcasters should start flipping pages to find inspiration for their podcasts. Authors starting their podcasts, books being adapted into podcasts, and also the opposite is nothing new. But clearly, there seems to be some increased activity.
Wednesday Books and Macmillan launched a podcast – The Girls to promote the upcoming young adult novel – Sadie. Macmillan has also been in the podcasting game for quite some time now.
Kevin Allison, host of the award-winning show Risk! has written a book by the same name. The book is a collection of stories from his podcast. Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball, The Big Short and liars poker among others is also set to launch a new podcast with Slate.
The post by Pratt puts all this in context. This article on WSJ has more on this trend.
Keep it open!
The debate about the virtues of an open vs a closed podcast ecosystem will rage on for a long time. But there is no denying that podcasting is one of the greatest success stories of the decentralized Internet. In this article, John Bergmayer writes about how podcasting has shown the value of an open Internet.
Podcasting seems to be gaining popularity in the Arab world. Given the stifled media industry in this part of the world, this article came as a bit of a surprise
One thing is clear, the podcast scene in the Middle East, although small, is alive and well. And it is growing. Building on the passion of these pioneers, others feel emboldened to enter the fray.
A couple of developments in the world of membership platforms. Patreon has acquired Memberful for an undisclosed sum. Patreon is a platform that allows creators to collect money from their fans. The platform has become a vital source of revenue for a lot of podcasters. Memberful works in a similar way but it is a white-label platform which requires some effort in setting it up, unlike Patreon.
This move by Patreon may have been necessitated in part due to the latest moves by Facebook and YouTube which have added subscription options for creators. The Wired has more on this.
Anchor the podcasting platform that makes creating and publishing podcasts ridiculously easy has added a listener support feature. The feature similar to Patreon allows creators to collect recurring payments from their listeners. Anchor after the recent debacle about its terms and conditions has made moves that are sure to garner some brownie points among the podcasting community.
The company recently opened up a full-fledged studio in Manhattan where anyone can record their shows. It hopes to expand to other cities.
The Verge reports that Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project could launch by the end of the year.
“Pandora created personalized music discovery — that doesn’t exist in podcasts,” Lynch says. “You might look at a chart, you might see what your friends are [listening to]. There’s nothing personalized about that. We’re building for podcasts what we did for music, which is the podcast genome. So that we can present to you, as a Pandora listener, a personalized experience that will delight you just like we do with music.”
The Podcast Genome Project seems to be inspired by the company’s Music Genome Project. This was part of the company’s efforts to offer better music recommendations. As part of this project, a team of trained musicologists at Pandora listen to music and rate the songs based on hundreds of different musical attributes.
The company is working on a deep integration of podcasts that will allow users of the service to easily browse and discover new shows.
Pandora is also looking to offer podcasters monetization options that will be superior to the current state of podcast advertising. Currently, many podcasters still rely on ads that they read themselves on air, Lynch said. “It is not the most effective advertising model.”
Pandora with over 75 million subscribers, if serious, can do a lot of good for podcasts. It does seem to be betting big on podcasts. Lynch, speaking to Yahoo Finance earlier this year had said that
In the car, 80 percent of listening is music, while 20 percent is other stuff. As a service, if you don’t have that 20 percent, it doesn’t mean you capture the 80 percent, because then people will just stay on their FM Radios. But if you can create audio content for people that gets packaged with the music content in a way that doesn’t give them a reason to go back to that FM dial, then you capture much more than just the spoken word.
Although Pandora is available only in the US, this can be a mini Google Podcasts moment for podcasting.
Hey Speaker, play me a podcast
The rising popularity of smart speakers is one of the most exciting developments in podcasting. A recent study by Edison Research and NPR found that 18% of American 18+ now own a smart speaker. Tom Webster, Senior VP for Edison Research, spoke to Erica Farber of the Radio on Main Street Podcast about the developments in this space.
In The Spotlight
We had a fascinating chat with Shankar and Vishnu, the hosts of the Writer & Geek Show. You can check out the full conversation here.
Voices from India
hubhopper, a content aggregation platform, has recently added podcasts to its offering. The hubhopper app is available for both iOS or Android platforms. hubhopper has also recently started a drive for original/hubhopper branded podcasts. If you are a podcaster interested in partnering with hubhopper for new or existing shows, write to email@example.com.
Past Events: The 3rd edition of The Indian Podcasters’ Virtual meetup was held recently with some great sessions from Rahul Nair of Storiyoh (a session on “Power of connected users and the next billion podcast listeners”) and Chhavi Sachdev from Sonologue (session on “using the right hardware and software to record podcasts”). You can access the full recording of the virtual meetup here.
Passion People Podcast is back with Season 2. The conversations continue with passionate people who are doing extraordinary things in their lives. This Season of the show will feature the stories of not for profits from around the globe such as chayn.com, Lets Open a Book, KnowYourStar, entrepreneurs from Royal Brothers, and Earth Loaf Chocolate. You can listen to the season 2 preview here with Musafir Stories and the Writer and Geek Show.
Resources: If you are looking to discover local content, make sure to check out the India podcast directory. Shout out to @notrueindian for building this invaluable resource beneficial to both listeners and creators.
The Colaba Cartel, an exclusive ten-part series about setting up a restaurant in Mumbai, hosted by Gauri Devidayal of The Table, and Amit Doshi of IVM podcasts was launched this week. The podcast became the first Indian podcast to be released live from Twitter India’s #BlueRoom. You can watch the launch here.
The Kinetic Living with Urmi Kothari is a podcast about positive energy, a fit body and a balanced lifestyle. In the first Episode Urmi talks to Kubbra Sait of Sacred Games fame.
The SpotboyE podcast is all about conversations with top Bollywood actors, directors and those who bring movies to life. Listen in to catch up with cool guests like Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Ishaan Khattar, Rajkumar Hirani, and many more. You can listen to all nine episodes here.
Cliff Asness, Founding Principal, AQR Capital Management, launched a new podcast called “The Curious Investor“. If you are a finance geek, this podcast should high on your list.
This is a beautiful example of how podcasts are being used to create societal impact. Andrew Reed, a filmmaker based in Chattanooga has started a new podcast called “My Own Two“. The podcast shines the light on the homeless in the city and their stories.
Slow Burn, Season 2: The Clinton Impeachment Saga – Leon Neyfakh is back with season 2. The season of the Slate production was a runaway success. The first season covered the Watergate Scandal. In Season 2, he delves deeper into the plots and subplots of the Clinton impeachment saga.
Freakonomics Radio featuring Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo – As Indra Nooyi prepares to step down in the fall of this year, Freakonomics look back at this episode where she shares how she saw the company through a global financial meltdown, tackling activist investors, working 20-hr days, seven days a week, being a female CEO of the global behemoth and more. The end of an era!
Indian Noir Season 1, His Night Begins – A gripping and slick serialized crime thriller about India’s criminal underbelly and sex-trafficking syndicates. Written, narrated, and produced by Commonwealth Short Story Prize and DWL Story Prize-winning writer Nikesh Murali, this one’s a must-have on your playlist.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – If you are a history buff then this podcast is a must listen. This is a narrative longform show about some of the most important historical events. Intense and gripping.
The Express Adda Podcast – This conversation veteran journalist Mark Tully with Seema Chishti, The Indian Express’s Deputy Editor is incredibly insightful. Mark talks about journalism – past and present, his experiences during some of India’s most pivotal moments, which I found to be thoroughly educational.
Saif Omar, the host of the Musafir Stories Podcast, contributes actively to these roundups and this wouldn’t have been possible without him. Thank you, Saif!
As always, we would love to hear from you. If you want to talk to us about anything even remotely connected to podcasts, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.