I was relatively late to the podcast game. Well, compared to my early adopter friends anyway. But having discovered them properly about a year and a half ago, my commute has been completely transformed. I look forward to walking an hour to work. I’ve stopped noticing the broken pavements, weather that’s either too hot or too cold, and fume-filled streets.
I love that’s it’s become socially acceptable to laugh or cry to yourself in public. Or at least for me it has. And in my fervour to find the next S-Town or West Cork, I’ve had to stop myself from asking these outwardly emotional strangers what they are listening to.
Unlike the radio, podcasts have freedom. They don’t need to appeal to the masses; in fact in most cases, niche is better. Look no further than ‘The Pen Addict,’ two friends talking about pens and pen accessories. Scroll through their five-year-long podcast feed and you'll see there's a whole lot more going on than fountain vs. ballpoint.
Podcasts fit into our on-demand viewing habits perfectly. There are no time constraints and they can be revisited at any time. Hosts of independent podcasts have a greater freedom of speech because they’re not representing a media channel such as the BBC or NPR. And as they're not live there's less reason to be candid as the episode can always be edited.
Listening to a podcast is an intimate experience. So, unsurprisingly this attention has made it an increasingly attractive proposition to advertisers.
In June 2018, a study by the IAB and PwC confirmed U.S. podcast ad revenue reached $314 million in 2017, an 86 percent upswing from the previous year. Although this is still relatively small compared to other media, for example advertisers in the US are expected to spend almost $70bn on TV in 2018, podcast revenue is projected to more than double in size, to $659 million by 2020, making it a format brands cannot ignore.