Today’s generation may think of the likes of Joe Rogan podcast and First Take podcast as the be-all and end-all of news and information, but news broadcasting has evolved immensely to attain its present shape. Ever since the appearance of regular newspapers in 17th century Europe, news reporting and presentation has been an essential part of the educated society everywhere in the world. Broadsheets, tabloids, dailies, weeklies and evening papers have gradually taken their distinct places in the world of news reporting. The emergence of television added a new dimension to news reporting, with broadcast news lapped up by millions in their living rooms.
In present times, print, broadcast and the internet are the three primary sources of news. The rampant success of the internet media has put the so-called ‘traditional’ news media on the back foot for a good part of the last decade. Within internet media, podcasts are witnessing a meteoric rise of their own.
What’s up with Podcasts in India?
Podcasting was born in 2004 when MTV video jockey Adam Curry started iPodde while working with software developer Dave Winer. This was before the likes of Rogan podcast made it a universal phenomenon. A podcaster can be anyone, from someone broadcasting from their home studio to big corporations and broadcasting companies with podcasts of their own, like ESPN’s First Take podcast.
Print readership in India has grown to more than $425 million last year, although on a single-digit rate, but is under threat from non-traditional media. Though there are about 40 million people who tune into podcasts out of a total of $500 million Indian internet users, the growth rate has been far more impressive, with a 60% growth in 2018. Radio and news publishers have been at the forefront of podcast growth in India, who have been joined by various companies, influencers, and individual users more recently.
Podcasts make more sense to broadcasters
Participants are joining the podcast bandwagon thick and fast, and they see it as a very sensible content and digital marketing option. It is, of course, still early days in the world of podcasts. There is much less competition in this field and digital marketers can carve a niche more efficiently compared to other online platforms. It is easier for the podcaster to engage with the listener.
Besides, being a mobile-friendly content option, podcasts fit into the listener’s time table perfectly. Whether you are on your treadmill, in the car or just waiting for the next metro, you can tune into a podcast through your mobile app. It is this personal sanctuary of the listener that the broadcaster can penetrate through their podcasts.
How podcast fits in India
India has a large youth population that is hooked to the internet. A large section of these has to manage their internet entertainment without high-speed internet. Podcasts, with its low data usage, is a natural fit in the Indian internet landscape. With the growing metropolises all around, a long daily commute is also a part of everyday life for many office goers. This is a natural fertile ground for good media content, and nothing can be less intruding to a commuter than a podcast.
Audio streaming has a natural market in India that is increasing every day. As the podcast culture is yet to become universal, people continue to audio stream their music on video streaming applications like Youtube. Besides, radio is a part of the country’s social fabric and FM Radio has been able to cash in on it pretty quickly. But radio, be it AM or FM, has to be heard, then and there. It is a real-time form of entertainment. You have to tune into the 7 pm news at 7 pm, not before or after. The same goes for the entire broadcasting media. Podcasts, on the other hand, like Rogan podcast and First Take podcast, are on demand. This hands you the liberty of tuning in at your own convenience.
Why podcast, over anything else
We have already noticed that podcasts are highly convenient for the listeners. You can listen to it at your own convenience and without too much fuss. You can download it and listen to it later, decide when to listen to it and filter down your podcast channels according to your choices. Podcast’s closest audio rival, radio, has many limitations in India. The popular FM radio is not allowed to cover topics of public interest like current affairs and politics. Rogan podcast, on the other hand, hosted podcasts with three US presidential candidates last year! However, traditional media, barring FM, is also teeming with excessive current affairs and politics.
Podcasts offer an alternative to the usual media houses by giving a different perspective and opinion to the popular and much-watched topics in the country. Apart from these popular topics, podcasts are also the place where taboo or stigmatized topics can be more freely discussed. Topics like gay issues and sex education may be discussed in a hushed manner in mainstream media and not given the ‘camera time’ it deserves. Whereas, in a podcast, there are no such limitations, which can, and often does, lead to a more healthy and wholesome discussion.
Mainstream media is busy improvising their presentation to fit the millennial taste and editing news pieces to survive their lack of attention span. Podcasts like Rogan podcast and First Take podcast, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to interested listeners to deep dive into the topics of their interest and be able to make more out of the news piece.
First Take podcast offers a more detailed insight into the world of sports while Rogan podcast has been hailed as the last bastion for civil discussion in contemporary America. Podcasts must have good content to survive and thrive; such is the nature of the beast. Unlike traditional media which can use all sorts of visual aids to retain the viewer’s attention; podcasts become successful solely on the strength of their content. With content as the undisputed king in podcasts, this no-frills entertainment medium is fast surpassing its traditional rivals.