Why short-form podcasts are about to explode
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA)’s head of digital, Jaime Chaux, has some bold visions for where podcasts will be in five years. Discoverability, length and revenue are all set for a shake-up. He talks to Radio Today’s editor Vivienne Kelly about what’s in store.
VK: Describe your job in one word:
VK: If you could make a podcast about anything, what would it be?
JC: The history of Yacht Rock. Yacht Rock fans (including myself) are a crazy passionate bunch.
VK: What is the biggest mistake you see in podcasting?
JC: The mistaken thinking that ‘If you build it they will come’ when it comes to new podcasts.
The reality is that if you build it, they won’t come – and further to that, ‘they’ most likely don’t even care.
I’m not being a pessimist here, I am more pointing out that people already have very busy lives and already have their own choices of content in places that they regularly consume and are happy with. Regular punters do not have the time to think about their content choices in detail like those of us in the industry do.
The solution to this is to consider a potential new podcast in terms of either what consumer need it is going to solve or how the podcast’s story grabs someone emotionally when they hear about it that makes them want to try it and then replace something else that they are consuming.
VK: What’s your prediction for where the industry will be in five years?
JC: Consumption: My personal prediction is for podcasting to be consumed by half of all Australians on weekly basis. That compares with 26% of Australians now who consume podcasts weekly, as reported by Edison Research’s Infinite Dial Australia 2021 study.
Discovery: The breakthrough point in consumption will come when the current multiple impediments making it hard for consumers to find podcast content are solved. In five years most new podcast listening will come from users searching a particular topic or asking a particular question via voice or regular search. Connecting a question successfully with a podcast episode that answers that question right now is difficult and impractical. Making tech readily available at scale such as accurate automatic transcription of podcasts and easy integration of that transcription into everyday search via typing and voice will fix many problems currently facing podcast discovery. It will also change how podcasts are made.
Short-form podcasts: Consumption of this will explode by then. Most podcast consumption will be of episodes of three minutes or less once search is part of the discovery process.
Revenue: The revenue story will still be an evolving one at that point in time. Podcasters and publishers will be very much actively juggling multiple business models by then: ad-funded, multiple subscription methods, short-form vs long-form content, micro-payments per episode, live events, windowing by release date or by app and more. Bigger networks will make this monetisation much easier.
Podcasting and radio: Radio is very lucky compared to other traditional media which have faced the arrival of new media. Podcasting is very much a complementary play to live broadcast radio. For the radio industry, podcasting will be a more meaningful source of revenue than it is now although it still won’t be close to the revenue generated from live broadcast radio (which will also be an evolving product and business at the same time).
VK: What advice would you give to somebody looking to work in podcasting?
JC: Always be hungry to keep learning and always be ready to adapt. Your future jobs most likely do not exist yet.
VK: What is the best part of your role?
JC: Podcasting is just part of my work. My work at Commercial Radio Australia also deals with delivery of live radio to smart speakers, our industry smartphone and smart speaker app for live radio RadioApp, future delivery of radio in-car, future applications of smart speaker and voice assistant technology, digital measurement, and an ever-changing list of other work. It’s an evolving time for media in the digital space and this makes this work super exciting.
VK: What challenges are you/ the industry facing?
JC: The challenges I face are the same that we all face along with the broader industry. The big one is prioritisation. You can be working on a million things at any given time, but only a small handful will deliver meaningful and tangible results. Some potential projects that may seem super exciting on first look could end up being massive time and resource wasters, so it’s about being always vigilant with time and effort.
VK: What’s something about you that might surprise people?
JC: I have done pretty well everything in this space at some point in my career: announcer, street guy, production guy, music director, radio station content director, app product manager, digital audio product manager, podcast content director, podcast producer. All of those things are still in my blood and allow me to do the work that I do.
VK: If you weren’t in podcasting, what do you think you’d be doing?
JC: I already have plenty going on in my job, so I would still be here helping add new value to the digital side of the radio industry.
Entries for Radio Today’s Podcast Awards with LiSTNR are now open. Categories span podcast executive leader of the year, host or presenter of the year, branded podcast of the year and podcast company of the year. Late entries are open now until July 4. More information is available here.