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Why podcasting is a game-changer for news outlets

The way we consume information, specifically news, has dramatically changed over the years. Social media has upended newspapers, radio and the nightly news broadcast. 

Globally, there is a wave of news podcasts. These have given voice to journalism that goes beyond traditional methods; one that includes engaging storytelling, personal stories, and in-depth commentary. Even mainstream media outlets such as BBC and The New York Times have recognized the potential and scope of podcasts. In fact, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced a new Journalism prize category for the 2020 prize cycle: Audio Reporting. 

Scope for News Podcasts 

The listener base in India has grown from 4 million in 2016 to an estimated 95 million in 2021. That’s a 34% increase from 71 million monthly active users in 2020. According to the Redseer report, only 12% of the Indian population has ever listened to a podcast, indicating immense potential for growth.  

The number of new news podcasts globally rose by almost 12,000 between January and October 2019 – an increase of around 32%. The exponential growth can be attributed to the versatility of audio content. News podcasts can feature daily news, reportage, in-depth conversations, storytelling… the possibilities are endless. Journalists have the potential to form an intimate connection with the listeners by providing an insight into the journalistic process and how a newsroom works. 

And the beauty of podcasts is that there is no length restriction. Popular formats are Micro-bulletins (1 – 5 minutes), News round-ups (6 – 15 minutes), and Deep dives (more than 20 minutes). A reporter often has more content than is put on air, and this leaves a lot of scope for that content to be repurposed for a podcast, for example, one can upload the audio file of an entire interview. 

Podcasts are a fantastic way to supplement news broadcasts. Videos of regular news broadcasts can be shared on the station’s websites, and podcasts can offer more in-depth information about some of the week’s bigger stories. The audience gets to choose when they want to consume their news and in which format. 

How local can audio be? 

The short answer: Hyper Local. The increase in the availability of regional content is astounding, which has seen a jump in the number of listeners from smaller towns. 

In the US, more than a quarter of local news outlets closed in the last two decades. These communities are left without a local reporting. National outlets like The New York Times have added more rural reporters to their teams, but it’s not the same as having someone living in that community, covering it full time. The situation is no different in India. Now is the best time to start a news podcast, where the demand for podcasts is on the rise, and the market is not saturated. The intimacy and engagement that can happen between reporters and listeners is truly where the magic lies. 

The article has been written by by Aditya Kuber, CEO, Ideabrew Podcast

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