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Are we in the golden age of the podcast?

Consumption of traditional media is changing thanks to the rise of the Internet. What happens to podcasts? .

Two men recording a podcast

The pandemic has boosted podcast consumption. / Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: ¿Estamos en la edad de oro del podcast?

Sound culture dominated for a long time. The radio has been present in our lives for decades, although the proliferation of audiovisual media meant that, little by little, it lost ground. This was increased with the appearance of the Internet and videos, although that does not necessarily diminish the relevance of sound.

For example, we recently saw that Netflix decided to try an “audio only” mode, to listen to series as podcasts. That is, dispense with the visual so that people can follow their favorite content only by listening to what happens in the script, without paying attention to the visuals and leaving it as a background. Let's see what is happening.

The golden age of the podcast

First of all, we must define what precisely is a podcast. RockContent's specialized website mentions that these are excellent ways to gain new followers. In other words, it is a series of episodes recorded in audio and transmitted online, which, unlike what happens with traditional radio, can be tuned in at any time and through different platforms, such as Spotify or YouTube.

In other words, basically, any product that can be played at a certain time, without having to be “live” can be a podcast. There are even podcasts that include video, although it is clear that one of the main virtues of this type of format is that what is important is what people say, being able to leave it in the background while we do other activities.

According to the study conducted by Voxnext's The State of the Podcast Universe, time listening to podcasts during 2020 increased by 25%. The target of this new way of consuming content is young people between 18 and 25 years old, who decide to move away from radio and television, but also strikingly away from other audiovisual products, such as YouTube videos that require your attention in the foreground.

Thus, the podcast seems to be the new format for success. Its creation occurred in 2004, arising between the merger of the terms iPod (Apple portable device) and broadcasting (broadcast). Thanks to the proliferation of social networks and the Internet, more and more people are encouraged to produce their own content since anyone can do it.

In the same way, it is a business that seems to be very fruitful. Spotify itself acknowledged that it wants to expand its reach in the world of podcasts. For that, they bought the company Megaphone, for an amount of almost 200 million euros. The objective? That brands can advertise on the company's exclusive podcasts, so that content creators earn more money.

Therefore, it should not be strange that there are people who want create their own programs, since the industry is profitable. This is not only used by individuals, but also by large companies. For example, in Latin America the most listened to podcast is O Assunto, hosted by journalist Renata Lo Prete, which has a weekly average of 694,720 downloads.

This obviously translates into big profits. For example, the New York Times' The Daily podcast brought in more than $ 10 million in advertising. That is, the earnings are generally given through the advertisements that enter these programs, but they are not the only options. There's also the possibility that Spotify will pay for podcast rights, something that happened, for example, in 2018 with Amy Schumer, who sold the rights to her show 3 Girls, 1 Keith.

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As for companies, we have the case of a specialized company, known as Stichcer Premium, which offers exclusive podcasts that are paid. With a monthly subscription of $ 4.99, you can consume unique content, such as a show about the character Wolverine from Marvel. 

Anyone with something to say can easily do so and reach a wide audience. Hence, it is common for podcasts to emerge with specific themes, with segmented groups. However, there are also other more general podcasts, where even celebrities make their own broadcasts. For example, in Tiempo Argentino, they comment that some players, such as Laprovittola or Papu Gómez, take advantage of the new communication formats to reduce the distance with their followers.

Precisely, this closeness with people, at a time when closeness with others seems to be needed more than ever, is what is leading to the rise of different products to have fun, learn or just hang out. The fact that each person can find a podcast that suits their particular tastes is what makes this world so wonderful.

As there is a wide offer, you can find podcasts of all kinds: sports, finance, cinema, music, society, among others. At the same time, if you want to do something of your own, you can also make your voice known to the world and even make a living from it. For this reason, it seems that we are in the golden age of the podcast, where sound consumption can occur whenever we want, without having to wait to tune in to our favorite program. 

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