Podcasts have been around for decades, but suddenly they’re red-hot. Gary Reisman, CEO of podcast producer Forever Dog, explains why podcasts have become big business.
Why are podcasts suddenly so popular?
In recent years, we’ve seen popularity increase exponentially on two fronts – among consumers/listeners, as well as among the creatives who are getting into the game. That said, I think there are a few key factors that have fueled the industry’s success, first and foremost being the level of intimacy and authenticity that podcasts offer. Listeners actively seek out and select the podcasts they’d like to hear, and once they do, they’re often listening on head phones, meaning content is being piped directly into their ears! It’s very intimate in that fashion. Show hosts can accompany listeners in their car every morning or during their workouts or while they walk their dog, and in many cases, hosts are discussing personal issues and sharing honest feelings and perspectives. They’re able to establish a deeper emotional connection with listeners who, in turn, become more attached to the talent than they would through other mediums.
We’ve certainly seen this over the years with Forever Dog’s roster of artists and comedians – whether it’s Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers from Las Culturistas, or Catherine Cohen and Pat Regan from Seek Treatment. They’ve garnered extremely loyal fan bases who will show up for any and every piece of content they create. It’s why our show Race Chaser, along with many others, are able to sell out theatres for live recordings, and why we’re currently developing podcasts for television with National Lampoon. As each individual show grows, consumers become hungrier for content from the personalities they’ve come to love.
Additionally, the podcasting platform is perfectly designed to accommodate today’s audiences, which are accustomed to having complete control over the content they consume, including how/when they consume it. It’s more than just content on demand; its highly authentic and deeply personal content on the listener’s terms.
And of course, as more and more consumers flock to podcasts, the talent pool has burst wide open with inspired individuals – from well-established artists to promising up-and-comers – who see the value, efficiency and endless opportunities the creative outlet offers.
How is this generation of podcasts different than in the past?
Ten years ago, people generally thought of podcasts as a hobby. Something people create on a shoestring in their basements because they’re bored or because they’re trying to promote other endeavors. Today, it’s a bona fide business and sector of the entertainment industry – one that talent, agents and advertisers all recognize as a lucrative new frontier.
Podcasts have also become an unbelievable IP incubator – a way to efficiently pilot content that can garner a valuable fan base and lead to massive omnichannel offerings.
For these reasons, artists are coming to producers like us to generate polished, premium content that will break through and perhaps even transcend the platform – extending to other digital outlets and/or to television/streaming. As a result, more and more quality podcasts are emerging.
And naturally, as the audiences and caliber of content increase, more and more brands and advertisers are getting involved.
What makes them valuable to advertisers?
First of all, podcasts reach the “unreachables” – mobile-first, chord-cutting, upscale audiences – via a lean-in medium. If you want to reach millennials or Gen Zers, podcasting is THE place to be.
Equally important is podcasts ability to offer advertisers a way to reach consumers with superior messaging in an intimate, casual and less cluttered environment with highly engaged listeners. And I mean super engaged – industry statistics show that 61% of listeners have reported buying a product they heard about on a podcast ad.
Beyond that, podcasts can enhance brands’ influencer marketing strategies. In many cases, the talent behind the mic is the one advocating for the sponsors on their show, which of course adds significant value.
All said, perhaps what’s most exciting and attractive to advertisers is that they can reach their audience on their terms. There are countless creative advertising and integration opportunities that simply don’t exist in other media, and we’re always developing and offering Forever Dog clients unique packages (tailored to their needs), through which they can utilize individual shows, as well as our entire network to elevate their brands.
Lastly, podcasts offer a cost effective avenue for pure brand integration into content that has high growth potential. If managed correctly, shows often migrate to other entertainment platforms, reaching a broader audience along of the way. Advertisers who get in early on the IP related to a podcast can potentially ride the wave as it expands and builds upon its fan base.