The audio industry has seen a massive increase in consumption over the past two years. As per a report by KPMG, India is the third-largest podcast-listening market globally and is expected to be valued at Rs 17.62 crore by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 34.5%. Only the right approach towards audio content can help platforms, creators and brands stay ahead of the curve.
In a chat with BestMediaInfo.com, Vineet Kanabar, a marketing expert and the host of Story Tellers & Story Sellers (an IVM podcast about the business of content and entertainment), shared that one needs to concentrate on three verticals to devise the right content solutions for brands. One is how creative can your approach be, the second is to focus on who are you influencing and who will be your target audience, and the third is to focus on the content experience rather than just the content creation.
Giving an example of Unacademy, which invests in web series to reach Gen Z and also in cricket to reach out to a much wider audience, he says the next big trend in the industry is that there will be not one content strategy, but multiple content strategies for different audience cohorts for the same brand.
“On the other end of the spectrum, you will always have brands that will invest in cricket or movies because they are proven tactics for certain brand metrics. But for long-term engagement, especially with younger audiences, it is important to build a strategy for a specific set of audiences,” he said.
“In India, talk radio was never a thing. We had entertainment but talk radio was never a thing. However, the podcast space is working because there are so many creators and so many different audiences. I think this change is here to stay for sure. It only goes up from here but it is up to the creators to decide whether it's audio or video content that best serves their audiences in a manner that is justified,” Kanabar said.
He said the podcast industry, which is still growing, already has a lot of talent and storytellers in different languages. However, podcast players need to focus on their training. “HUL had to invest in bloggers. Bloggers were there but they were not as good as they are today. They did not shoot TV commercial-level content at that time. HUL came in and trained beauty creators for three-four years, and now we have gold-standard creators. That is the level at where we are with podcasts. Talent exists and stories exist, platforms are now investing in training them. Spotify has a bunch of programs where they are training creators, other platforms are also working towards it.”
Kanabar added that as the podcast industry grows, shows will need to reach newer audiences and there is a possibility of players increasing their spending towards it. “There are wonderful shows that need to be created that need to reach new audiences who need to be receptive. We are only scratching the surface. As more and more quality content comes through multiple languages, it is something definitely that marketers will be willing to do to spend ad money to see the right content is received by the right audience. Across the industry, you are going to see more ad dollars being spent.”
According to him the next challenge for the audio industry is to further evangelise existing measurement tools and solutions than discovering new ones.
He spoke about the time he was working with TVF, and TATA Motors had questions about an association with the web series Triplings. He said, “Tata Motors told us that they saw the cultural value of doing the web series but when they are putting such money on the table is there a way to measure its impact? We were then compelled to study the before and after results. We found that there is a 30-35% increase in awareness, a certain increase in recall and conversion. Today brands invest in web series all the time. I think we are at the same stage with podcasts now. Tools have been created it’s just that they have to come true with a few strong case studies and then people will have a lot more confidence.”
Speaking about what made him turn into a podcast host, Kanabar stated that while he was an industry expert, analyst, he also used to teach at various institutes like MICA and NMIMS. Kanabar realised that in-person teaching is not scalable as one can only reach 60-80 students at a time. “I needed to reach a larger audience and create a more permanent record of learning. One of my friends at that time was running a company that trained influencers and creators. She asked me why I did not start a podcast and we can talk to IVM about it. That's where Storytellers and Storysellers was born.”