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Podcasts on the rise! - Are you listening to them?

Updated: Mar 27, 2021

Podcasts, not your usual radio! They are a series of recorded audio files, focused on a particular topic. Their structure and content are diversified. They can be scripted and read out by the host, or a conversation with a guest (an interview), maybe a candid discussion about any event or any series of music type dedicated to a certain cause/genre.

These podcasts come with various benefits which include:

  • Listeners can download and tune into a podcast according to their own schedules

  • This passive activity allows them to multitask

  • Can take the form of a series consumed back-to-back

  • Consumes less data as compared to their video counterpart.

  • Great potential as a medium for vernacular causes

  • Can be a perfect time-consuming content while travelling.

Podcast business in India:

According to the Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019–2023 report by PwC, podcast listening has increased significantly in India in the past few years. “Monthly listeners totalled 4 crores at the end of 2018, up a sharp 57.6% from 2.54 crores in the previous year. This made India the world’s third-largest podcast-listening market (after China and the US). Growth is set to continue over the forecast period with listener numbers set to increase at a 34.5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) to 17.61 crores by 2023.”

Audio-streaming platform Spotify conducted a survey with YouGov in India to better understand the listening habits of users. According to the survey, podcasts are gaining popularity among Indian users.

“Podcast listening is growing in India, and this medium is a great way for listeners to discover the enriching and entertaining content they want,” Spotify said in a blog post.

According to the survey, 46 per cent of the respondents “felt that they have only a bit of time, or none at all, to do the things they liked.” Nearly two-thirds of the respondents wanted more time for activities like general entertainment, relaxation, or learning new things. This is where podcasts helped listeners relax.

The survey also found that 62 per cent of the respondents feel that listening to personalities (celebs, experts, etc) makes them feel closer to the host. The most popular podcast genres among users in India on Spotify were ‘Education’, followed by ‘Lifestyle & Health’, ‘Society & Culture’, ‘Arts & Entertainment, and ‘Business & Technology.’

JioSaavn, the audio streaming service owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, has seen its podcast catalogue increase by 200 times since 2019. Spotify also witnessed a growth in Hindi-language podcasts on its platform Anchor in India. “We've seen a 1,100 per cent year-on-year growth in Hindi podcast on Anchor,” Spotify said.

Who are listening to them and why?

“18-24-year-olds formed the largest audience of those who listened to a podcast on Spotify the first time this year,” as per the survey

Spotify’s Culture Next Report 2020 states that 86% of Indian parents who listen to podcasts feel that the medium has become a very helpful educational tool.

Additionally, 60% of millennials and GenZ surveyed stated that podcasts fueled their self-discovery.

Cause of growth:

The various factor which has accelerated this growth includes:

Story-telling: Desire to share and tell stories and others listening to them driving great insights. People love listening to stories about other personal experiences which help them relate and grow.

Learnings: They get to learn something new and get insights on some important trending topics.

Companionship: And perhaps the most important reason for the affinity is that listeners want companionship, and audio is able to break beyond barriers of video, accessible across devices and as an accompaniment to the listeners’ other primary activities, say driving or cooking.

Relaxment: A feeling of calm and light mood feels like hanging out with friends.

Vernacular diversity: Demographic and geographic/ cultural differences help to promote this podcast industry. And as it is deeply rooted in our culture to listen to audio content. We can even now spot radio in some of the shops and even in some of the households.

Engagement: Podcasts listeners can be engaged in a way that traditional media can’t. Listeners feel they are being spoken directly to. Also, the podcast becomes a means to showcase the brand’s personality.


So we can see clearly that these podcasts are a booming industry gaining momentum in India. And its growth can accelerate more if we millennials and GenZ people come forward and express more of our feelings and teachings through this wonderful medium. Since as long as there is quality content available that the audience is searching for, they are definitely gonna hear it.

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