It was a lucky coincidence when, in 2014, the launch of Serial coincided with iOS 8’s update that placed Apple’s podcast app on all devices, spurring a new generation of podcast listeners.
As access to on-demand, streamed media is becoming more mainstream and smartphone penetration grows, the appetite for podcasts has increased. Although there are no official stats available yet on podcast consumption in South Africa, consider that 45% of South Africans have downloaded music online and 29% stream music. There is a clear opportunity to take advantage of the ‘audio Netflix’.
Audiences are time-poor and impatient. Book costs continue to be prohibitive for the majority of South Africans, while podcasts are still free or subject to a nominal subscription fee. And, as a source of both entertainment and information, the value for the listener is significant.
Ad networks in the UK claim episode completion rates of 90%, meaning midstream ads are being heard. Recent surveys in the UK also suggest that 76% of listeners have followed up on an ad or sponsored message they heard on a podcast, showing high engagement with the platform.
Yet most brands, especially in SA, are cautious of jumping on the podcast bandwagon. A major problem standing in their way is the issue of brand sound and content strategy. What should their brand sound like? What is their audio tone and personality? How will our listeners find our content and what do we want them to do once they have listened?
Podcasts need a clear Intelligent Content strategy.
‘Geography was not phased out by the internet. Professional, educated people still commute and crave stimulation during the ordeal. They also exercise, struggle to sleep and demand ocular relief from the enervating blue-white fuzz of a computer or smartphone screen. In all these instances, podcasts fit our lives in a way virtual reality headsets may never. They liberate our eyes.’
– Janan Janesh, The Financial Times
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