How COVID-19 has become a game-changer for podcasting in India

As we moved into COVID-19 induced lockdown, our lives became screen-focused and podcasts turned out to be the perfect escape in an otherwise screen-filled routine. With new creators developing content across platforms, podcasting in India is going mainstream.
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There are a few factors that help a market segment thrive. Chief among them is access to tools of creation and distribution, along with a market gap that needs addressing.

At the inflexion point of the COVID-19 pandemic, the podcasting space was evolving from its Indie roots to slowly becoming a tiny part of the mainstream ecosystem.

As we all moved into lockdown, our lives became screen-focused, be it work, school, or any other form of human connection in life. Podcasts came in as an exciting alternative that didn't demand all of our attention. They instead allowed one to just listen.

And as more people tuned in, they got a lot of value and entertainment from them. Users felt connected to the podcasts and the podcasters they listened to. This connection led to a deeper engaged audience compared to many standard/video focused modes of content.

The changing market dynamics pushed an entire stream of new podcasters who wanted to try this out for themselves and used the tools available online and on their phones to create content.

They could create these because one no longer needed to go to a studio to make a podcast. Creators didn't even have to be in the same room.

Tools like Zoom, Squadcast, Riverside and Zencastr, and distribution platforms like Anchor helped people create and distribute content with minimal to no expense. This led to the boom of "podcast creators" along with the "consumers".

And this boom has also made creators who were more YouTube or Instagram-focused to start building their podcasts to leverage this newer subset audience.

And as creators and consumers scale, so do the opportunities to monetise. There is a core aspect to podcasts being a low cost of creation and high audience retention (how long audiences listen to a particular piece of content) content medium.

This, along with an audience that is deeply engaged, has led brands to finally look at podcast advertising as a valuable way to razor focus on specific cohorts of consumers. 

And, platforms have started acquiring and creating podcasts of their own to build their intellectual property differentiation.

Allowing for a wide variety of podcasts to find amplification, budgets for creation and even the ability to create a paid subscriber base who would pay for bonus content and other additional features.

Add to that a crop of social audio platforms and tools that allow the "audio-first" creator to have a live and interactive extension to growing their audience. 

So, while this has helped the market reach this point, the road ahead seems even more exciting. With audiences and monetisation growing the way they are, the pandemic might have sped up the growth of podcasting, and content is taking it to the next level.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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