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Video growth to slow down, podcasts will take off in a big way, says Spotify's Amarjit Singh Batra

The Managing Director of Spotify India feels 2020 will be the year of audio streaming, which may overtake videos in coming years. He explains what podcasts offer to advertisers

Amarjit Singh Batra

Audio streaming and podcasts would become more mainstream next year and might even leapfrog the growth of videos, said Amarjit Singh Batra, Managing Director, Spotify India.

Batra said users would soon start moving from video to audio streaming.  “There has been overdose of video content for quite a few years. I believe users are done with that. The wave of video has already happened. It won’t decline, but might grow at a slower pace, as people have reached that stage where they might not prefer to explore it any further. And as this shift happens, audio content consumption will just take off. And with data being cheap in India, the market would witness more streaming than downloads,” he told

“Usually we see people first coming to music and then exploring podcasts. Personally I believe podcast will bring in people first. Because now they are looking for stories, conversations and they would like to be more aware. Some of us are already consuming that through video maybe, but podcast will give users more an intimate experience,” he said. 

According to reports, India has witnessed a 2.3x increase in audio consumption with the users estimated to spend 21.5 hours per week listening to music. This number is higher than the global average of 17.8 hours a week. Almost 79% of listening occurs when visual media cannot reach the listener.

Batra said audio is a lucrative option for brands looking to reach consumers. Spotify’s global research with YPulse, done in 2018, showed that half of podcast listeners say podcast ads are more relevant, seamless, or entertaining than typical ads, which makes them a great audience-outreach platform.

Batra said Spotify has partnered with over 50 brands since June. Tapping into the platform’s streaming intelligence to target the audience, each of these brands is able to understand the person behind the device, including their contextual behaviour such as mood, tastes and habits.

Apart from that, riding on the potential of podcasts, the audio streaming platform has strengthened it localisation strategy with three original podcasts that will go live on December 3.

Tapping into pop culture, originals such as cricket centric ‘22 Yarns with Gaurav Kapur’, fiction thriller ‘Bhaskar Bose’ narrated by Mantra, and love and relationship advice-based ‘Love Aaj Kal’ by Aastha and Ankit reflect the company’s global audio-first approach, Batra said. He said this initiative will open the opportunity for India’s growing creator community to work with the company for creating and delivering content in engaging audio formats.

The platform aims to offer better discovery, data, and monetisation to podcast creators and has seen exponential growth in the podcast hours streamed globally, up approximately 39% from Q2 2019 to Q3 2019, with podcast adoption reaching almost 14% of total monthly active users.

Asked about the consumption behaviour the platform has been witnessing in India as compared to western markets, Batra said, “In most of the western mature markets where we operate, the engagement level and consumption time is similar. But those markets are slightly ahead in numbers.”

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