Traditional Media in the Podcasting Era

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By Doron Fagelson
Vice President, Media & Entertainment
Traditional Media in the Podcasting Era

The surging popularity of audio on demand listening has caught the attention of many in the media industry and beyond. The numbers coming from recent studies on the subject are staggering. According to research published by Ofcom in September 2019, around 7.1 million people in the U.K., or one in eight, now listen to podcasts each week. That’s an annual increase of 24% and more than double the audience size from five years ago. In the United States, the numbers are even higher, where more than a third (37%) of Americans aged 12 and over listen to podcasts monthly, according to The Infinite Dial 2020® from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

As the popularity of audio on-demand content has risen, so has the interest in this new medium from many traditional media companies. From the New York Times to Vanity Fair, almost every media company now has a podcast. The new audio on demand space offers many opportunities to traditional media players, but it also presents some challenges. In his article, «Traditional Media in the Podcasting Era,» Doron Fagelson, VP of the Media and Entertainment Practice at DataArt, discusses why this medium is so attractive right now, which obstacles traditional media companies looking to invest in podcasting face, and how they can overcome these.

What makes podcasting attractive for traditional media?

  • A flourishing new medium
  • A way to capture a younger demographic
  • Convenience and deeper listener engagement
  • New business models could reinvigorate local public radio
  • Breaking out of the program scheduling wheel
  • New revenue streams

Challenges and obstacles

  • Monetization
  • Booking guests
  • Audience growth challenges
  • Resource constraints
  • Overly conservative mindset
  • Competition from new entrants is growing fiercer
  • The desire among podcasters and listeners alike for high-quality ads
  • More original content
  • Adapting to new production processes

The continuous growth in the popularity of podcasts over the last decade and particularly over the past two years shows that the on-demand audio medium is here to stay. Moreover, both statistics and anecdotal evidence show the many ways this medium can bring a breath of fresh air to traditional media. The success stories and opportunities mentioned above show that podcasting is a powerful digital medium that can help traditional media to stay relevant and well connected with younger generations, all they have to do is make the effort to meet the challenge.

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