Twenty years in, 2020 looked to be a golden year for podcasts. And in many ways the year was significant. On the one hand, we saw Spotify and others consolidate the medium through acquisitions, and on the other, independent podcasters collaborated to set up new namespaces, and explored diversification with ad revenues taking a hit as a direct outcome of the pandemic.
Our survey indicates that the general trend for podcasts during the year was upward, with more listening becoming the norm. Spotify’s study also highlighted that people just made more time to listen to podcasts compared to cutting into music listening time. Although the shifts were slower than expected this year, there is also a growing appetite for more diverse voices to join the medium.
There is little doubt that audio will continue to play a significant role in our future. In the tech world, we saw the launch of Clubhouse, an audio-only social networking app open up to the public, while Twitter launched voice-based Spaces in private beta in December.
For the region, the possibility of further investment in the medium is par for the course now, and the outcome of holding back during 2020 might serve as a tipping point for brands and companies to explore podcasts as the cost-effective option for both content creation, and brand awareness through marketing.
James Cridland, Editor of Podnews, believes the biggest challenge facing podcasting is that “the main provider in this space, Apple, is asleep at the wheel. That rarely ends well.” The increased consolidation among the other platforms might actually make 2021 the year that changes.