Weekly Round-up: Mixed feelings

Hey Podheads, hope you guys had a good holiday break. This was a slow week and there were no earth-shattering headlines but there were a few stories which kinda made you think about the space. Here’s the first issue (#21) of 2019:

What’s up with the podcast universe?

Podtech company Voxnest published The State Of The Podcast Universe report last month. It contained some interesting numbers and factoids:

  • There are 619,000 shows on iTunes.
  • The US accounts for over 70% of the advertising market. The rest of the planet put together accounts for less than 30% 😨
  • Rapid growth in podcast consumption in India and Latin America but the markets are hamstrung due to the lack of business models and monetization options.
Voxnest: The State of the Podcast Universe Report
  • On-demand audio in China is a revenue churner.

On-demand audio in China is huge. While we may not be sure exactly how huge, China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, put subscription-based audio content revenue at $7.3 billion in 2017, while Venture Capital firm Andreessen Horowitz estimated it’s about $3 Billion annually – but either way, it’s significant.

  • Women and the marginalized driving creation of podcasts in China.
  • 21% growth in monthly published episodes on the Voxnest network.

Diversity in podcasts has come a long way

Voxnest: The State of the Podcast Universe Report

The ten fastest growing markets: Brazil, New Zealand, Ireland, Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Turkey, Mexico, United Kingdom.

Voxnest: The State of the Podcast Universe Report

The ratio of listening on Apple vs Android is 5:1. Although this report labels Google Podcasts as failing, I say – hold on!

When Google Podcasts launched, there was a lot of excitement around its potential to grow the industry exponentially and quickly. But after a surge at launch, adoption has slowed and usage declined. Six months in, most would classify the initiative as a big disappointment.

My view: Although Google Podcasts is yet to make its mark, I say give it more time.

Voxnest: The State of the Podcast Universe Report

Spotify is now the de-facto number 2 platform for podcast listening with a 10-25% share across platforms. I’d highly recommend reading the full report.

Sage words

Most podcasters dream of making amazing shows, cultivating a rabid fan base and maybe joining a big network and making money. Nothing wrong with that. But in this damn insightful piece, Eric Nuzum writes that this isn’t for everyone and there are other ways of being successful.

RAD watch

Ever since the launch of RAD led by NPR, there has been a debate about privacy and the very need for such a system.

Here’s what Marco Arment, who’s opposed to RAD had to say in response to an article by Podnews:

Here’s another view by Dan York:

Meanwhile, Apple which hasn’t so far commented on whether it is going to support the initiative or not reportedly offered feedback to NPR on RAD.

Best of times or worst of times?

You know, sometimes in our wish for podcasting to succeed, we often forget to observe the ills that plague the space. Being hopeful and all that wishy-washy stuff is fine, that, anyway, at this point is a staple in podcastland. But we do need a steady supply of critical views to keep our own views grounded. In this beautiful piece, Andrew Ramsammy takes a critical look at podcasting in 2018 and shreds some longheld beliefs and taglines.

2018 was just a year that some in the business needed a break. A separation. A time to see other mediums. But like the great platform and distributor that she is, audio will have them running back, asking for forgiveness, begging to be taken back, asking if we can try just one more time. 

Voices from India

Given that the Indian podcasting scene is in its early stages, the topic of monetization is a very important one. Sindhuri Nandhakumar of The Hindu spoke to Indian creators on the topic and here’s what they had to say.

Rohan Venkataramakrishnan of Scroll spoke to the people who are making the magic happen and me (I just write about the space) about the year that was and the year ahead for Indian podcasting. Some really insightful views here.

Indhuleka Aravind of ET in this piece takes a sweeping look at the podcasting scene in India. A lot of interesting views from Indian creators on consumption patterns, monetization, challenges, and the road ahead for podcasts in India.

It will be a festival of democracy as India goes to polls this year in what will be biggest election in the universe with over 815 million voters eligible to vote. Given the sheer size of the country and the importance of the elections, getting people out to vote is an extremely important issue. The good and talented folks at Suno India in partnership with Factly will be launching a new show called “Every Vote Matters” to spread awareness amongst the electorate. We’ll hopefully shine the spotlight on the folks behind the folks in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Nikesh Murali, the voice behind Indian Noir and Slow burn launched “The Story Fox” a podcast of original children’s stories.


It’s a new year and here’s a new piece on the podcast to Hollywood phenomenon by NYT. We’ve extensively covered the ever-growing list of adaptations and it seems that that list just keeps growing. Gladiator, The Horror of Dolores Roach, The Bright Sessions, and Tanis are the new podcasts getting the TV treatment. – NYT

Short-form podcasts can be a new source of revenue for publishers. – Business Insider

With Second ‘Podcast Upfront,’ IAB Hopes Brands Will Buy Into Audio Advertising. – Adweek

Alison Weissbrot of AdExchanger writes that 2018 was the year when podcasts finally grew up. Here’s the worry with the rise of programmatic which at this point is inevitable:

But most publishers sell inventory directly and fear programmatic will ruin the quality of podcast ads and ignite a race to the bottom on pricing.

2019 predictions by Corey Layton of Whooshkaa. – Radio Today

Advice to podcasters by Aaron Mahnke.

PRX Podcast Garage in 2018. – PRX/Alex Birch

Posted by Bhuvanesh

A podcast junkie on a mission to make podcasts great.

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