Everything you need to know about where podcasting is headed
The state of podcasting in 2016
In a promo interview with Vice for his new film Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World Werner Herzog confesses that, while doing PR for the film on a podcast, he didn’t even know what a podcast was.
Whether or not he was actually trolling the hosts (Herzog famously doesn’t even own a cell phone) isn’t as interesting as the connection we can subsequently make between his documentary on the rise of web-based tech and the rise of podcasting the past few years — with the most interesting question being: Will podcasts continue to grow in step with the web?
How We Got Here
You likely already know a decent amount about the explosion of the podcast genre since 2008 (it is likely what led you here in the first place). Nonetheless, let us revel in recent history for a minute…
A mix of increased mobile access, app innovation, high content marketing potential, and the incredible, ever-evolving work of audio storytellers and entrepreneurs using the medium to push sonic boundaries has given us this moment in podcast history.
- One in five Americans are listening.
- Advertisers are spending more than $30 million across the board.
- Downloads grew 23% in just the past year.
From “godfathers” like This American Life and Radiolab to newer shows like Keeping it 1600 and Revisionist History — the podcast is here to stay.
Where We Go Next
Despite the labor of podcasters and the love of podcast listeners, though, in many ways the future growth of the genre is inherently tied not simply to the internet but to the growth of mobile and — yes — auto technology.
Intelligent apps will be using all that data collected on you to personalize your app experience more and more over the next few years. This will likely mean more help sifting through the barrage of new podcasts, as well as single episode recommendations based on your likes. This will subsequently mean even more personalized and even less intrusive content marketing on your (favorite) podcast(s).
And those new self-driving cars Uber is rolling out in Pittsburgh? How long before the next episode of your personal podcast awaits to start as soon as you climb in? The growth of radio has always been tied to the automobile, and now that tech innovation in the auto industry is reaching scale — think Apple and Google not just on your phone but all around you in the seat — there will be more room for podcasts to grow as well.
Rather than simply being shaped by these external forces, however, podcasters and their listeners can influence back.
The genre is much more mature and stable in what it offers to the tech and marketing industries than it was just a couple years ago, let alone in 2008 (or, especially, when it began in 2003). The genre offers the art of storytelling and audience capture new material possibility never before seen that can in fact influence the world in which it is broadcast.
Let’s hope we continue to seize that opportunity, and ensure a great end to 2016 and a great beginning to 2017.