[Disclosure: I work at Otto Radio]
First, I truly believe audio as a form has an inherent appeal that has stood the test of time, and will withstand the rise of self-driving cars. Video is undeniably sexy. Print endures. But humans need audio. From our earliest days around the tribal fire, we passed down information through stories told — not seen or read.
What must change is podcasting is going to survive and thrive is discovery and accessibility. For “professionally-created original audio content distributed via the internet” to grow, you need to be able to find the type of content that interests you in a form that pleases you–with no more than the push of a button.
After all the first competition is radio, not video or text. If podcasting is going to grow beyond its niche appeal to podcast geeks (like myself), the mechanisms of distribution will have to operate like radio. In other words, the audience tomorrow’s podcasters need is my mom who listens to a minimum of four hours of radio per day with extreme discrimination.
A platform that intelligently curates spoken-word audio content based on the listener’s interests and does it as effortlessly as turning on a radio, will drive consumption and adoption. And if the platform offers real-time robust listener analytics, then the barriers to attracting the advertising revenue need to grow the industry (and hit $1B by 2026!) have been removed.
This is exactly what we’ve tried to do with Otto Radio — provide delightful discovery and effortless curation tied to the analytics necessary to help podcasters (really all spoken-word audio content creators) fund and grow the form.