Print’s Loss is Podcasting’s Gain

Podcasting is the audio hotbed of the publications industry. The driving force behind the growth in popularity of podcasts is the diverse and very high quality of the content. The reason behind this expansive selection of excellent listening options lies in the fact that journalists and publications – creative, talented writers – are producing it.

Media companies have seized the podcast opportunity. The New York Times just launched a new audio unit focused on podcasts, Slate’s Panoply is a “podcast network that connects sophisticated listeners with top publishers and thinkers” – among them, WSJ, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Inc.. Check out any newspaper’s site and you’ll find a selection of podcasts.

The shift from print journalism to podcast journalism makes a lot of sense economically. Publishers, from large and small newspapers, to magazines, have suffered huge losses in readership and revenues over the past decade. Meanwhile, consumption of Internet media keeps growing and growing, taking bites out of all forms of traditional media, according to this chart from Pew Research (BIA Kelsey data). Bad news for print, but good news for podcasting.

newspaper ad revenue

With all of this great content comes the need for more innovation, particularly in the form of podcast discovery. Last week PRX’s Jake Shapiro announced the formation of RadioPublic, a company backed by several large media companies, that intends to “reinvent radio” by focusing on podcast discovery, as well as special offers and fan engagement.

Companies are focusing their investments in the space and with that will come better data and increasing revenues. Another big media company, EW Scripps, bought Midroll Media, which includes both the Midroll sales network and Earwolf podcast network. Technologies are improving as well – podcast listening can be a pretty seamless experience these days with an app like Overcast.

It’s early days for the podcast industry. The marketplace is flooded with great content, and working hard to organize and monetize. No doubt that effort will benefit from the focus of the traditional media industry looking to reinvent its online strategy..

Written while listening to Anna Sale’s podcast Death Sex and Money


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