The Podcasting Landscape
While Serial generated much media attention, it did not prompt a spike in podcast audience growth, which has remained steady for years. However, Serial did result in increased interest from advertisers and publishers looking to enter this space.
Podcasts are finally positioned to achieve mainstream penetration, mostly because of mobile phone adoption and technologies that have lowered the barrier to entry. Although podcasts still face significant challenges—including a branding problem, ease of access (especially for Android users), and dashboard technology—these should be resolved in the following five years or so. The real challenge will be growing an audience that is comparable to that of other media, such as TV, radio, and video.
Podcasting is also primed to attain legitimacy as an industry. Although download metrics remain rudimentary, streaming technology is allowing for more sophisticated statistics and increased consumer data. Moreover, industry standards are solidifying, which will allow podcasters to legitimize their numbers and appeal to more advertisers.
What’s more, new podcasts and podcast networks are emerging and disrupting the radio ecosystem by attracting significant advertisers. As our world shifts to mobile consumption, these networks recognize the potential of podcasts as mobile-first content that engages with audience members in ways that no other mobile medium has previously.