From the trends we’ve witnessed this year, Steve Jobs was right when he announced in 2005 that podcasting was the future of audio. At the time, the Apple Podcasts directory carried 3,000 podcasts; in 14 years, it has now grown to more than 800,000.
Our survey results clearly reflect an appetite for more podcasts, specifically in the categories of entertainment, arts & culture and business & entrepreneurship. For local creators, there is still a lot of room for new content to be developed to fit the medium.
When announcing their acquisitions earlier this year, CEO of Spotify Daniel Ek shared that “the format is really evolving and while podcasting is a relatively small business today, I see incredible growth potential for the space and for Spotify in particular.” Spotify has led from the front in 2019, putting significant funding behind this vision.
The overall outlook for upcoming audio technology is also conducive for growth in the medium. Voice assistants Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, along with the growing ecosystem of voice-activated apps, are feeding into the exponential demand for audio content. In fact, Apple announced the availability of the entire Apple Podcasts directory on Alexa, leading the way for ecosystem collaboration. Between smart speakers (like the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home), and connected cars, podcast listening is near seamless for anyone who wishes to give it a try.
Within the region we’re still in a very nascent stage of the medium’s own ecosystem, with significant growth expected among shows, listeners and rising collaborations across shows moving forward. And as brands continue to take notice globally, we expect they will look to work with various local shows as well.
With the industry still blossoming, the uncertainty in how far podcasting will go is summed up best by Sean Rameswaram, host of Vox Media’s Today, Explained. “If you think of audio as the way you think of, say, film, like we’re still in the black-and-white period of podcasting. What’s color going to look like? What’s 3-D going to look like?”