Our Favourite Podcasts; whether Flash Briefings are Better; and the Correlation Conundrum #InternationalPodcastDay

James “JP “ Poulter
Sep 25 · 5 min read

Podcasts seem to be a polarising content form. Some lap up hours of the news or personal development discussions (not just Tim Ferriss but a good place to start); others use them to unwind through laughing at ridiculous conversations or getting their binaural beats on.

What we’re listening to at Vixen Labs: Our #InternationalPodcastDay recommendations


  • The Voicebot Podcast — news, research, and analysis into the intersection of Voice and AI
  • Twenty Thousand Hertz“the stories behind the world’s most
    recognizable and interesting sounds”
  • VUX World — interviews with Voice First leaders sharing practical tips
  • Inside VOICE — behind-the-scenes of the world’s largest voice tech event



Of course, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to share some podcasts (and, okay, a radio show) the Vixen team have appeared on:

Should I make a Flash Briefing or a Podcast?

We’re asked that question a lot, especially given that some people think podcasts need to be shorter to really take off on smart speakers (more on that later…).

The best audio experience for your listener depends on exactly what you’d like to offer them.

If you’d like your audience to consume your content in a fixed location, on the the day of publishing, a flash briefing is probably your best way forward — these short daily updates are a great way to maintain a connection with your audience.

If you would prefer your listeners to consume your content anywhere however, and choose which episodes to listen to and when, a podcast is your port of call — particularly if you have access to plenty of knowledgable voices in your industry to speak with.

The opportunity of an immature industry

One survey found that the most popular response to the question: “What are you typically doing when you’re listening to podcasts?” from regular podcast listeners is “hanging out at home”.

That’s where your smart speaker likes to hang out too, of course. 74% of users engage with their speakers while doing household chores, 66% when cooking & 59% getting ready for the day.

So it could seem obvious that any increases in podcasting and smart speakers would go hand-in-hand, right? We would expect there to be a link between increasingly popular audio content (the number of podcast listeners has nearly doubled in five years) and people listening to it on increasingly popular audio devices (19% of Brits are predicted to own a smart speaker by the end of 2019).

But it’s not as simple as that. As Scout.fm’s founder Cara Meverden told Pacific Content, Neither Google Home nor Alexa are seeing much podcast listening on the platforms.”

Radio and music feature in the top ten speaker requests, but podcasts are nowhere to be seen. The Spring 2019 Smart Audio Report also revealed that there isn’t much difference in people believing they listen to more or less audio since getting a smart speaker:

Pages 13 and 14 of The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, 2019

There are a few theories for why there isn’t an overwhelming link between podcast consumption and speaker ownership:

  1. length — podcast episodes can stretch over hours (great for plugging in and zoning out) but Podnews’ Editor James Gridland predicted that “More shorter-length sub-five-minute podcasts will be made — these work well on smart speakers, and respect listeners’ time.”
  2. place — listening to a podcast requires a level of attention that smart speakers users may not be looking for; background music, radio and utility usage are a better fit (take a look at the Workshop Coffee skill for an example of this)
  3. discoverability — it’s not easy to stumble across podcasts while using a speaker, though in countries like Canada where Google Home dominates the market, we see stats like podcast listeners being twice as likely to own a smart speaker, possibly due to better searchability

We think the confusing statistics and differing explanations can only point to one conclusion: the immaturity of the two industries. Plus, as we were all taught in high school, correlation does not imply causation. Still not convinced? Check out these hilarious graphs:

If you’d like to investigate how podcasts, flash briefings and audio content can form the start of your voice strategy , think about booking one of our workshops or drop us a line on info@vixenlabs.co

Vixen Labs

News and perspectives from the Vixen Labs team. Voice First Strategy, Experience and Marketing specialists.

James “JP “ Poulter

Written by

CEO and Co-Founder of Vixen Labs, Innovation and Marketing through voice and conversational technology. Professional Podcast Host & Speaker.

Vixen Labs

News and perspectives from the Vixen Labs team. Voice First Strategy, Experience and Marketing specialists.