Audio podcasts are bound to become more popular as content streaming goes mainstream. Podcasting India story can only grow if we develop a strong listening culture. Listening is certainly not one our best quality. Before we cover the podcasting scene in India below is a short story on how podcasts have influenced the narrative in the past.

Joseph Goebbels was designated as Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany in 1934. Hitler had set up the unit to propagate Nazi ideology (control the narrative for the party). Joseph was widely known for his public speaking skills, so Hitler knew he was the right man for the job.

Hiring Otto Griessing, a German electronics engineer was among Joseph’s first few decisions. Otto was tasked to design a low-cost receiver (radio). Upon production radio designed came to be called Volksempfänger (People’s Receiver).

Joseph knew that a widespread use of a receiver would make it easier to spread the parties ideology. Germany produced more Volksempfängers than any other model during 1933 – 1945.

At the peak of its use, the receiver reached over 80 million people depriving them of any other thought than the one enforced by Hitler. Volksempfänger’s story demonstrates the influence that radio podcasts had over the years.

Radio Podcasts to Audio Podcasts

Radio podcasts have been in existence since 1930. By 2007 audio podcasts started gaining popularity. Adam Curry was among the first podcaster to launch his podcast titled ‘Daily Source Code.’ Curry spoke about everyday life and events in the podcasting scene or the news in general during his podcast. Curry’s consistency in producing the podcast led to its unprecedented viewership (over 500k subscribers at its peak).

In June 2005, Apple released iTunes 4.9 which added formal support for podcasts, thus removing the need to use a separate program to download and transfer them to a mobile device. Podcasts from public radio networks like BBC, CBC Radio One, Financial Times and Public Radio went live on iTunes shortly after the launch.

Podcasting India Story: Why it works?

Elevate your Storytelling Experience

Indicast is among India’s longest running podcasts. It was started by Aditya Mhatre and Abhishek Kumar, in October 2005 – just a month after Apple released an update to support iTunes for hosting Podcasts.

The format revolved around two people speaking about news and current affairs in a non-newsy style. The podcast worked as people could relate to it as it didn’t sound like a debate which leaves you without any insights or perspective on a given topic.

Abhishek believes that podcasts are about lending a voice to a story and keeping the viewers glued to the narrative.

“Podcasts lend voice to a story. And if the voice can tell a good story, it can be as engaging as your grandmother telling stories. That’s the secret of The American Life (which spun off Serial). I haven’t heard Serial, but The American Life is hosted by a genius storyteller called Ira Glass. It works because he is adept at telling a gripping story and his team adds all the necessary sound effects to enhance the listening experience.”

Don’t follow the rules

Podcasting initially followed the radio show format which usually has a panel of 2 – 3 people. As the medium evolved, newer formats have emerged.

  • Fictional Stories – Geek Fruit Podcast by Indus Vox Media
  • Non-fictional Stories – The real food podcast by food writer, Vikram Doctor talks about food, the origins of it and recipes.
  • Tips / Q & A – Ask Aakar Anything
  • Interviews – AIB Podcast usually features interviews with celebrities.
Engagement

Podcasts listeners can be engaged in a way that traditional media can’t. Listeners feel they are being spoken directly to. Also, podcast becomes means to showcase the brand’s personality. In a recent research conducted by Triton Digital & Edison Research in the US found that people listen to an average of five podcasts every week.

Recall & longevity

To have a conversation with the layman and discuss governments major initiatives Prime Minister, Narendra Modi choose radio over other mediums. ‘Mann Ki Baat‘ podcast has become the prime minister’s go-to-medium to reach people in tier II and tier III cities.

“When we hear the country’s PM talking to us, we develop faith in him. Mann Ki Baat is becoming har mann ki baat. It encourages people in villages to start talking about toilets and building them,” said a listener in Bhopal.

A survey conducted by Prasar Bharati found that on an average, around 4 percent audiences were impressed with the programme that account for roughly 40 million listeners for each episode.

Multi-platform Experience

Podcasting is a multi-platform experience. Most podcasters have their own website and social profiles. Podcasters also upload their content on multiple platforms. For instance, you will find AIB Podcast on YouTube, Sound Cloud, Apple iTunes store to name a few.

As a podcaster, you would want your content to be available on every platform where your audience is present. Most music streaming services are also tying up with podcast services to make their content available on their platform.