India has emerged because the third-largest podcast listening market on the earth after China and the US

Nirupama Venkat had hassle sleeping throughout the lockdown final 12 months. To maintain herself occupied, she would watch YouTube movies or motion pictures and collection on OTT platforms.

This solely exacerbated the sleeplessness. To stop herself from getting into the video rabbit gap, she determined to make use of the podcast app, which she downloaded a number of months in the past.

“I listened to BodhiCommons (a lecture collection on socio-political subjects). It felt as if somebody was speaking to you,” she says. It helped her sleep higher, too.

Nirupama is a daily podcast listener now. She produces a month-to-month podcast, What’s Subsequent? In Social Sciences, together with her good friend.

There are lots of like Nirupama, who listened to and created podcasts in India final 12 months.

Spotify-owned Anchor, a podcast-making platform, added greater than 25,000 podcasts from India in 2020. In response to the Media and Leisure Outlook 2020 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, India has emerged because the third-largest podcast listening market on the earth after China and the US, with 57.6 million month-to-month listeners.

However why are podcasts standard in India?

Intimate and non-intrusive

‘Podcast’ is perhaps a brand new time period in India. “However it isn’t too completely different from listening to tales from our grandparents,” says Amarjit Singh Batra, Managing Director – India, Spotify. “Storytelling is one thing that’s rooted in our tradition.”

Audio-visual content material, like an online collection or a film, additionally tells tales. However podcasts, in keeping with Amarjit, are extra intimate. “It looks like you’re actually sitting subsequent to the podcaster. This expertise of companionship is so highly effective,” he says.

Actor-podcaster Mantra Mugdh, whose audio manufacturing home, MnM Talkies, produces podcasts of assorted genres, explains, “[Audio-visual and audio-only] are two completely different worlds. There isn’t any competitors between them. It’s like we proceed to learn books even when the tales in them are tailored into motion pictures and exhibits.”

India’s familiarity with radio is another excuse for its folks leaping on the podcast bandwagon. In contrast to tv and different screens, which requires singular consideration, radio seldom stops family routines. “Very similar to radio, podcasts too may be within the background, as you do your different work,” says Mantra, who has additionally been an RJ.

How podcasts are taking off in India big time

Kavita Rajwade, the co-founder of Indian Vox Media (IVM), a podcast community began in 2015, agrees. “I believe we’re a rustic that’s starved for time. And, a video requires far more engagement not like audio, which permits multi-tasking,” she says.

This unobtrusive nature of podcasts is a motive for his or her increase throughout the pandemic. IVM’s listeners, Kavita says, grew over 30% throughout the lockdown. “We had been initially fearful when automobiles went off the streets as a result of we normally see an enormous leap in consumption throughout drive-time. And, now, folks could possibly be at residence and watch exhibits. However that pleasure died quickly. They nonetheless needed to wash dishes, stroll their canine, clear their rooms… So, family chores changed drive-time. And, the consumption fee was excessive all through the day.”

Plethora of genres

Platforms like Anchor and Spreaker have made it easy to file, edit and share podcasts from residence. There usually are not many subjects for which you received’t discover associated podcasts.

Spotify lists Arts & Leisure, Schooling, and Life-style & Well being as its hottest genres in India. For JioSaavn, they’re Comedy, Movie & Tv, and Storytelling. So, nobody style towers above the remainder. If we broaden the classification, nevertheless, non-fiction podcasts outnumber fiction. That is the case globally as nicely. These, as an example, are Spotify’s top-five hottest podcasts of 2020: The Joe Rogan Expertise, TED Talks Every day, The Every day, The Michelle Obama Podcast and Name Her Daddy. All 5 are non-fiction. The conversational non-fiction podcasts, typically, are simpler to supply than fiction. They don’t require voice artists, audio results, and a studio setup, that are important for fiction podcast. Therefore, the proliferation of non-fiction content material. However it’s tough to face out from a big crowd.

“Finally the content material ought to be good and distinctive,” says Kavita of IVM, “Although our focus is solely on non-fiction, we’ve managed to grow to be pretty standard by specializing in Indian tales. The problem for us is to search out the correct of individuals to speak about issues.We additionally discuss subjects that folks hardly ever focus on. Public coverage, as an example, is our second hottest style.”

How podcasts are taking off in India big time

Fictional podcasts, Mantra reckons, have an awesome potential in India. “Audio fiction is a style that hasn’t been tapped into. However it’s one thing we’re all the time used to. A long time in the past, Hawa Mahal was some of the wanted radio programmes in India. Households used to take a seat collectively in entrance of their radio units, ready for that present. Additionally, folks used to take heed to movies like Sholay.” Mantra’s detective collection, Bhaskar Bose, is among the many top-10 podcasts on Spotify in India. His audio manufacturing home additionally made a psychological thriller present for Audible, Kaali Awaazein, which options Amitabh Bachchan.

Mythology is a style that has all the time been standard in India, says Bijay Gautam, the co-founder of WYN Studios. Heirs of The Pandavas, a derivative collection on The Mahabharata, narrated by voice artist Nikesh Murali, bought over 100,000 streams for his or her first 10 episodes. Bijay and Murali anticipate a spike within the listenership this 12 months. “The plan is to create one thing just like the Lord of The Rings for an Indian viewers,” says the latter.

Talking many languages

When IVM started in 2015, a lot of the Indian podcasts had been in English. Listeners and producers had been from metropolitan cities. However this development is fast-changing. All main internet hosting platforms, together with IVM, are focussing on regional language podcasters and listeners. Kadhai Podcast’s Ponniyin Selvan, which narrates Kalki Krishnamurthy’s basic Tamil novel, is IVM’s hottest present. JioSaavn claims the variety of regional language podcasts listed on its platform has elevated by 150 instances since 2019. “Since October 2019, we’ve seen an enormous curiosity and engagement with Tamil content material given the launch of our podcast, MindVoice with RJ Balaji, with near 1,000,000 streams in beneath six months,” says a spokesperson of JioSaavn.

Rakesh Tiwari’s Millenial Kavi was probably the most streamed (2.6 million streams) JioSaavn podcast of 2020. The weekly present has Rakesh reciting Hinglish poems in lower than 5 minutes on miscellaneous subjects (pattern: actual property brokers, person manuals and ex getting married).

Rakesh, who’s from Benaras, was a giant fan of radio, rising up. “I all the time needed to do one thing within the audio area. [Radio journalist] Neelesh Mishra was an inspiration,” he says. “I even interned for radio stations throughout my undergraduate days in 2007-08. But it surely didn’t work out. So, I joined the BPO area for 12 years. However I used this time to apply my poetry, create a monetary backup and make contacts. As soon as the JioSaavn podcast occurred, I left my job to do that full-time.”

Podcasting will also be a supply of revenue due to platforms like Spotify and IVM. However do these platforms earn cash by way of podcasts? “Not but,” says Kavita, “Podcast promoting is but to take off in India. In contrast to in TV or radio, you don’t anticipate an advert break in podcasts. So, the commercials should be built-in into the podcasts like they do within the US. It’s going to take a few years.”

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report estimates that India will witness a rise of 30.4% compound annual progress fee in its month-to-month podcast listener base over the following 5 years. So, this increase in podcasts is probably just the start.

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