Internet

Is there money in making podcasts?

While advertising is the most tried-and-tested model across the world for podcasts, brands typically require a high number of listens or downloads (at least a few thousand per episode, typically) before striking a deal with a show   | Photo Credit: Pixabay

Bengaluru-based Vishnu Padmanabhan, who hosts the Writer and Geek Show with his brother Shankar, admits that podcasting is something he would “not mind doing full time.” Like most of the country’s burgeoning podcaster population (estimates place the number of titles at anywhere between 200 and 600), working full-time in the field is not an option for the software engineer. The business model for the industry is still nascent.

Mae Thomas

Mae Thomas   | Photo Credit: Jishnu Guha

Some, like Mae Thomas, were able to take the leap by building their brand following over the years. “I wouldn’t be in it if I couldn’t,” she says. “[Making a living] became possible when platforms like Saavn and Bookmyshow invested in audio content either through production or licensing.”

Others, like Delhi-based podcast coach Bijay Gautam, are able to leave their full-time jobs by broadening the scope of their work. In addition to his tutorials for aspiring podcasters, Gautam believes in looking past advertising solutions and in promoting his own content. “Books, e-books, online material — this can give me a higher return,” he says.

While advertising is the most tried-and-tested model across the world for podcasts, brands typically require a high number of listens or downloads (at least a few thousand per episode, typically) before striking a deal with a show. “You’ve got to really fight for every ad dollar that you get, given that most revenue goes to Facebook and Google,” says Rahul Nair, the Kochi-based founder of Storiyoh, the podcast discovery and networking platform where users can keep track of what their friends are listening to. A cricket show, for instance, is likely to garner far more listens than one about Bengali literature. For more niche content, Nair believes that a premium or subscription-based model, where listeners pay to listen, might make more sense. “You create a product that has value to somebody. That is the most straightforward way to do business,” he says.

But as Kavita Rajwade, co-founder of Indus Vox Media (IVM), the podcast network with over 60 shows on its roster, points out, advertisers are taking note of the opportunities that podcasts provide. This is a more intimate medium with high rates of engagement, and ads are often tailor-made for each show. “Now, we have brands calling us to see how we can collaborate with them,” she explains, going on to add that it is partly because “senior people in organisations listen to podcasts; it’s a topdown effect.” 2019, she says, is going to be the year brands discover audio.

Amit Doshi

Amit Doshi   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Amit Doshi, founder of IVM, concurs. “People are more aware of what the medium is good for, and when brands know reliability, the skepticism reduces. There will be a real business model which will be sustainable in 2019.”

Podcast vs radio

“Anyone who has a smartphone will understand the advantage of on-demand versus live broadcast [like radio],” says Rahul Nair, of Storiyoh. Timing and tuning in are no longer issues, and therefore, podcasts become a more convenient medium. They are also less burdened by jarring advertisements than radio or video content. As Mae Thomas points out, podcasts in India are less regulated, have more players in the field and offer a broader diversity.

Nair, however, believes that the move from radio to podcasts is going to be dependent on the availability of good content, of which there is a dearth in India right now.

Kavita Rajwade of IVM calls India an ‘audio first country’, adding, “We have been listening to radio for the longest time. The challenge has been figuring out entire storytelling formats. I think we swam our toughest sea over the last three years, trying to figure out what makes for great content.”


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 6:21:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/is-there-money-in-making-podcasts/article25911310.ece

Next Story