The Podcasting Boom

By Shuchi Bansal
Mint, New Delhi

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Podcasting is on the rise. Ken Doctor a digital media industry veteran, author, speaker and consultant says advertising in the sector expanded 48% last year and it is forecast to grow about 25% a year through 2020.

Mint, New Delhi

Ken Doctor recently wrote a five-part series on the podcasting boom in the US for NiemanLab. Published last month, Doctor spoke of the booming business of on-demand audio and how 2016 could be marked as the year the podcast business came of age.

A digital media industry veteran, author, speaker and consultant, Doctor works with media globally, advising on new sustainable business models of contemporary journalism. And the Nieman Journalism Lab, a project of Harvard University, is an attempt to help journalism figure out its future in the Internet age.

In his piece, Doctor explained that venture capital (VC) money was chasing podcasting in the US. Not just that. Advertising was rising too. It had expanded 48% last year and it is forecast to grow about 25% a year through 2020.

“By then, it will be approaching half a billion dollars in annual ad revenue,” he said, adding that NPR–the leader in podcast audience–earns more than $10 million in podcast revenue and owns a double-digit share of the market. In his view, podcasting that seemed like a cottage industry is beginning to look like a “true digital media sector, following the path of its non-audio peers”.

In fact, the sector has also seen the rise of several podcast firms in the last few years, such as Gimlet Media, Wondery, and Panoply which have joined “public media stalwarts NPR, WNYC, Radiotopia, and WBUR, radio-rooted PodcastOne, and comedy-driven Midroll Media in the contest for new audiences”. And more start-ups are expected to come up. Although, the current ad revenue for the sector may be small, entrepreneurs in the business are not disheartened. They are expecting ad revenue to flow in as audiences spend more time on the medium.

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