I have no idea where dates like International Podcast Day come from, (tomorrow is national homemade cookies day) but we'll go with it. So on this day, lets take time to quickly review where things stand.
Lots of people are making podcasts - It is estimated that there are somewhere around 325,000 podcast titles. They range from niche podcasts on just about any subject from fly fishing to fashion to mass appeal like Shaq O'Neal, and of course public radio has developed a myriad of interesting and rich titles. Audio has been liberated.
It's not niche anymore - Edison Research estimates 57 million people listen to a podcast monthly. That's a big number. Among younger demos, the percent of podcast users is rising sharply. While it is not an apples-to-apples comparison, Sirius/XM has around 30 million subscribers and 13 million pay for Apple Music. The Today Show has about 6 million viewers each morning.
Podcast demos are amazing - The median age is 30. By contrast, AM/FM is 45. Prime Time on ABC/NBC/CBS is 57. Cable news median is over 60. Many podcasts are speaking to hard to reach millennials which is why advertiser interest is so high.
The Smartphone is already becoming the audio hub and podcasting is there - Edison reports that 1 of every 5 minutes listened to audio of any kind (owned music, streamed etc.) originates from a smartphone. That's not some prognostication. That's right now. The smartphone is the new radio.
Not surprisingly, it's biggest with younger demographics - 68% of people aged 13-24 listen to some audio on their smartphone everyday (Edison). That's a whopper of a number and game changing. Especially for linear radio.
It's getting easier to listen - Podcasts apps on Apple and Android phones have vastly improved finding and listening to a podcast from the early days of downloading and copying from a desktop computer. The compatibility of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will open it up to millions more and the auto companies are promoting it heavily because they know entertainment technology sells cars.
While there are still challenges, the difficulty of accessing and listening to podcasts is diminishing. At the same time, the quality and diversity of content is increasing.
That is a pathway and a formula.
So, on this, international podcast day, one can see why many are saying the "second age of audio is upon us."
Steven Goldstein is CEO of Amplifi Media, LLC, an advisor in strategy and content development for corporations and podcasters. Steve can be reached directly at (203) 221-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.