Opinion

The future is in podcasting

In the pandemic year, many media models are suffering, bud podcasting has been resilient

Editor’s Note: A version of this text appeared in the last issue of our weekly newsletter for media managers. Sign up and receive the latest media updates and opportunities.

We are working on an article about podcasts expansion in Europe and we would love to hear from you. Share with us your newsroom’s experience of moving into audio. If you have stories to share, reach out to us on Twitter or at info.thefixmedia@gmail.com

In this pandemic year, many traditional media models are suffering, from newspapers to ad-supported digital publications. The good news is that other models have proved incredibly resilient — podcasts first among them.

According to a new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, daily news podcasts fared well during the pandemic and have been “punching above their weight.” They comprise less than 1% of produced podcasts but account for some 10% of downloads in the US, France, and Australia.

Over the past four years, daily news podcasts have become one of the most important and fastest-growing products for news media publishers. That’s partly because they bring in younger, better-educated listeners.

Big audio companies have recognized the opportunity and have moved decisively into podcasting, with Spotify as the leader here. Over the past couple of years, the Swedish audio giant has made noteworthy content-centred acquisitions (purchasing Gimlet, striking a centimillion-dollar deal with Joe Rogan) and technical advancements, such as testing video podcasts (vodcasting might become part of the lexicon soon).

As we wrote a few weeks ago, “it seems that Spotify is now on course to a logical culmination of all this expansion – creating a paid subscription service specifically for podcasts.” Spotify, though, isn’t the only big tech company looking to advance in the field. Amazon, Google, and Apple are also developing their podcasting strategies.

Does your newsroom have an audio strategy, asks The Fix’s columnist David Tvrdon? If not, it might be a good time to start developing one.

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