Indrani Sen: Tuning into Podcasts

09 May,2022

By Indrani Sen


Indrani SenThe FICCI EY Report 2022 on Indian M&E Industry “Tuning into Consumer” has only a very brief mention of Podcasts as a popular audio alternative indicating that

►Many radio companies had started to experiment with podcasts, generating millions of listeners per month

► Popular categories included comedy, business, news, religion, and storytelling

► Monetisation of this content, though in its infancy, commenced at a platform level for a bouquet of podcasts”


The report has a section on music where it indicates that digital revenues were 90% of the total music segment. It further states that streaming platform revenues (including YouTube) increased almost 22% in 2021 to INR12 billion, over 80% of which was advertising driven. It is difficult to figure out if the revenue earned by the streaming platforms include revenue earned through podcasts, most of which have non-musical content.


On August 10, 2020, I wrote my column on the same issue. Link: It appears that since then the podcast market has done remarkably well in India. As per PWC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2021-25, India is the third largest podcast listening market in the world with 57.6 million monthly listeners. A closer look at the variety as well as the width and depth of the content of the top Indian podcasts available to Indian listeners on various streaming platforms explains the reason behind the growing popularity of this medium.


From “Hindu in Focus” on Spotify and Apple talking about current developments across the globe to “On The Contrary” on Apple, a India Development Review by Arun Maria, a former member of the Planning Commission and former Chairman of the Boston Consulting Group; from “Kahani Suno” hosted by Sameer Goswami revisiting classic stories written by Jaishankar Prasad and Munshi Premchand on RadioIndia and Gaana to “Indian Noir” a crime, horror and dark fantasy mix narrated and produced by Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner and voice actor Nikesh Murali on Spotify; from “The Taste of India” a recipe and cookery show available across various platforms to “The Mythpat podcast”  created and hosted by Mithilesh Patankar highlighting all the trends in the gaming industry on Spotify; from the “Maed in India” showcasing the best Indian independent musicians hosted by Mae Mariam Thomas available across various platforms to “The Musafir Stories”  hosted by Saif Omar and Faiza Khan talking about Indian travel destinations and allowing the travellers to share their experiences also available on various platforms, there is just no end to the variety of content catering to the interests of different consumers.


Like The Taste of India,  Maed in India and The Musafir Stories mentioned above, many other podcasts are available across various platforms, notable among them are the comedy show “Internet Said So”, the Amit Verma show “Seen and the Unseen” giving in depth understanding of various subjects, “Paisa Vaisa” hosted by Anupam Gupta on personal finance, “On Purpose” hosted by Jay Shetty, a British Indian author, former monk and purpose coach on self help and “Figuring Out – How to grow business and brands” hosted by Raj Shamani, a successful entrepreneur.


Many of the successful podcast shows have been running over last four to five years like Indian Noir (2018), The Musafir Stories (2017), Paisa Vaisa (2017), The Taste of India (2017). Another popular show Tumne Kisi Se Kabhi Pyaar Kiya Hai focussing on falling out of love and finding it again streaming on JioSaavn has entered into season 2.


A recent article in Emarketerdaily has forecast that podcasts will account for more than one fourth of digital audio ad spend in US by the end of 2022.  The article has indicated “Most digital audio monetization will come from recorded music for the foreseeable future, but podcasts’ share of the market has grown so much—and will continue to do so—that it cannot be ignored by marketers. Once relegated to experimental budgets, podcasts are becoming a crucial component of multimedia ad campaigns.”


The above is an indication that Indian advertisers and agencies need to consider more seriously the scope of using podcasts as a part of audio media options available to us. Podcasts also offer excellent scope for advertiser sponsored programmes. FM Radios also need to review how podcasts can help them to differentiate the content of one brand from the other in future.




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