Hear, Hear!
Business Today|October 06, 2019
Hear, Hear!
The podcast industry is booming with locally created content encompassing fiction, comedy and information of every kind.
Sonal Khetarpal

Like most Mumbai office-goers, Raunak Onkar, Research Head at PPFAS Mutual Fund, has to commute hours every weekday to and from work. Through the long roads and endless traffic jams, it is podcasts that keep him good company. “I don’t want to read while travelling to avoid straining my eyes, so audio content works best for me,” he says. He downloads content on his phone beforehand, as it does not take up much storage space – unlike movies – thus making listening a seamless experience as he shuffles between train, bus and auto.

The podcasting industry in India has found a sweet spot – people listen to them on long commutes, while getting ready, on morning walks and more. Podcasts bring them their daily dose of laughter, fiction or news – the latest in science, technology, economics or public policy. “The advantage of podcasts is that they don’t steal your time,” says Gautam Raj Anand, Founder of Delhi-based podcasts and content aggregator platform Hubhopper. He maintains that he listens to 8-10 hours of non-music content everyday, even using podcasts to fall asleep.

Podcasting is a $402-million industry in the US, the biggest global market for podcasts. Though India is well behind, its nascent market is growing fast, monthly listeners rising to 40 million at the end of 2018 from 25.4 million at the end of 2017, a 57.6 per cent increase, according to PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook. “The number of listeners is growing by the day,” says Ambi Parameswaran, Founder of brand advisory firm Brandbuilding.com, who also has a podcast show – Sponge: Leadership Lessons. “Listeners are spread across age groups and regions and are listening to a wide breadth of content.” PwC estimates maintain listenership is set to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 34.5 per cent to 176 million by 2023.

Global music streaming company Spotify launched itself as Spotify-Music and Podcasts in India. Local music streaming companies – Airtel’s Wynk Music and JioSaavn – have also begun including podcasts in their offerings.

International podcast platforms such as UK-based audioBoom, Chinese audio network Ximalaya and American audio streaming service TuneIn, among others, are also targeting India. While 10 years ago, there were no Indian podcast platforms, there is now challenge from the likes of Audiomatic, Indus Vox Media (IVM) Podcasts, Indicast and Hubhopper.

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October 06, 2019