Listeners of audio content in India expected to reach 100 minutes soon

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India is expected to have 95 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) for online audio content by the end of 2021.

That includes podcasts, audiobooks and other online audio entertainment and is a 34% increase from the 71 million recorded last year, according to an analysis by market research firm RedSeer.

Only 12% of India’s population “has ever listened to a podcast,” indicating that there is “huge room for growth,” the company said.

Indians spent 2,290 billion minutes consuming online entertainment in 2021, he said.

Social media occupied the bulk of user time at 885 billion minutes, followed by messaging, over-the-top video (OTT), news aggregator apps, and video platforms short. Podcasts accounted for 2.5 billion minutes spent online in October alone.

“To gain popularity and keep content development costs low, Indian platforms started with User Generated Content (UGC) and Professional Generated Content (PGC) models. However, the platform’s ability to preserve brand value and quality is hampered by UGC hardware, ”the research company said.

“Platforms are devoting more and more resources to producing high-quality content and inviting celebrities to narrate and host shows. Few platforms, such as Headphone and Khabri, invest in more powerful UGC filtering and recommendation engines, ”he said.

Labyrinth Literary Agency, which provides author representation and writing services for books and films, often encourages its writers to create podcasts, according to founder Anish Chandy. Writers who are experts in a particular field or field do well on podcasts, and while some also monetize podcasts, the majority use podcasts to broaden their reach, he said.

“There is a perception, rightly or wrongly, that if this is a cleverly designed podcast, it means you know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Podcasts on finance, angel investing, advertising and marketing, and history work well, Chandy said.

However, podcasting is not a quick fix for expanding your reach, he noted. Most of the creators who do well on podcasts are the ones who already have a large following on other platforms, such as Instagram or Twitter, as they can leverage that reach to promote their podcasts.

Additionally, RedSeer’s analysis noted that platforms also have a role to play.

“Indian gamers have been successful in creating low data consumption applications to deliver podcast content, with diversification around vernacular and celebrity-focused content,” he said. “The mix of free and premium subscription models also allows new users to experience and consume this new form of entertainment,” he said.

In its third quarter earnings report, global streaming company Spotify said it had seen “noticeable traction” for original podcasts in India and Latin America. She said the Mythpat podcast is one of the best performing shows on her platform in the Indian market.

RedSeer’s report isn’t the first to predict a noticeable increase in this content. In its September 2020 media and entertainment report, KPMG said podcasts would be among the top listening trends to watch after the pandemic.

The firm said it noted a 23% increase in podcast listening after covid-19 drove people indoors.

However, Chandy cautioned that while there is no doubt that podcast audiences are growing, they are growing from a small base. “If someone says there are 95 million unique podcast listeners in India, I would ask how do you define a listener, how many minutes is it. It seems a bit high, ”he said.

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