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6 podcasting trends every publisher should know about

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March 23, 2023 | 5 min read

What do Conan O’Brien, unsolved murders, and the latest season of Game of Thrones: House of the Dragon have in common (other than the fact that they're killing it in podcasts)? They’re all representative of the shifting landscape in podcasting

Podcasts continue to attract an ever-increasing number of new listeners and, as a result, the overall demographic has shifted: they're younger, more diverse, and eager to explore new podcasts.

With a unique perspective on content, the next generation is practically single-handedly accelerating the evolution of modern podcasting. The question now is, how exactly can publishers leverage these latest trends to grow their businesses?

Let’s explore how the latest podcasting trends can help publishers to help them evolve their company and increase demand from audiences and advertisers.

1. Diverse content is key

Diverse listeners are being driven to the platform by an offer of diverse content. AdsWizz podcast trends report found that over half of Black listeners say that it is essential that a Black creator hosts the content they listen to. Similarly, 37% of Latinos said they would be inclined to purchase a brand if a Latino host presented the advertisement. Publishers must include diverse voices within their content offer—representation matters. Podcasts like Black History Year, The Read, Latinas Out Loud and Latina to Latina being some of the most followed podcasts on social media proves the importance of diversity and that content that appeals to different demographics are always welcomed.

2. Fewer politics, more comedy

Every once in a while, we all want to escape or take a break; it's human nature. New listeners are becoming interested in various genres, preferring stories that provide a little escape from reality. For instance, they favor true crime stories and entertainment news over political content. True Crime podcasts like crime junkie which often focus on sequential storytelling and binge listening—are on the rise.

3. Indie podcasters are at the forefront

Independent podcasters dominate the charts despite the presence of major publishers and media companies, and are essential to the format’s extension. Take this into account: of the top-downloaded podcasts on Simplecast, one of the top four, and 16 of the top 50, are independent.

During and after the pandemic there was an increase in sign-ups to podcast hosting platforms, reflecting an influx of indie talent choosing podcasting — many of whom were picking up the mic for the first time. And, for some existing indie podcasters like Liv Albert the creator of Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby! (a mythology and feminism podcast), they were able to quit their nine-to-five jobs and pursue podcasting full-time. This is good news for all indie podcasters out there.

4. Binge-listening has become increasingly popular

Just like binge-watching, there has been a significant rise in the popularity of podcast genres that emphasize sequential storytelling and binge-listening. A study showed that 46% of people binge-listen to podcasts compared to 37% of people binge-watching TV shows.

Earlier this year, Sony Music Entertainment launched a subscription channel called The Binge, with complete seasons of podcast shows available simultaneously, similar to the model that made Netflix famous.

Podcasts like Wild be Wild, an essential breakdown of the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and Root of Evil, a jaw-dropping and uniquely personal investigation into one of the most infamous murders in American history have been lauded as some of the most bingeworthy podcasts due to their sequential storytelling style and engaging narrative.

5. Everyone can find a community that suits their interests

Podcasts, by their very nature, allow publishers to discuss any topic, which opens up a universe of possibilities to attract niche audiences and, as a result, reaches younger and more diverse listeners. For example, the fastest growing podcast subcategories in 2021 were wrestling (109%), stand-up comedy (105%) and earth sciences (88%).

6. Podcasts and television shows complement one another

Podcasts are becoming extremely popular among movie and television enthusiasts, who they’re looking for spaces to learn more about the characters and plots of the stories they’re following. At the same time, the entertainment industry—from actors to TV hosts—is turning to hosting their own podcasts to draw from the TV or movie appeal and develop more meaningful connections with their audiences in a way that is impossible with other forms of media. Podcasts about popular TV shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Office and Buffy The Vampire Slayer have added to the podcast experience as fans now tune in to listen to cast gossip and share behind the scenes information that they otherwise would have never known.

Keeping a finger on the pulse has become more pertinent than ever during these last few years of tremendous change. Often these trends are born of demand, either for something different or something needed. And publishers who can keep up with the pace of change, and even anticipate these trends, will be rewarded with being first-movers.

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