What’s interesting about this debate is there are two levels: the first is whether revenue will improve, the second is whether podcasts as a format will even stay relevant.
As far as relevancy, the advantage podcasts have as a media format is that they don’t require active, visual attention and they promote the art of the conversation better than any other. Taking your definition of “professionally-created original audio content distributed on the Internet”, I don’t think podcasts are going anywhere. Regardless of what we end up calling the format in 2026.
In the long run, I think there are enough people interested in the problem to find improvements in the way we 1) measure podcast listens (making advertisers and creators happy) and 2) discover new content (helping listeners). At least significant enough improvement to be optimistic in the $100mm vs $1b debate.