Podcasting Today newsletter: January 2022

Articles from our Podcasting Today newsletter


January 2022

What’s in store for podcasting  in 2022?

Consolidation. For sure. There are many podcasting, and audio streaming services around the world…some of them will not survive 2022. Some smaller fish will be eaten up by bigger ones through mergers and acquisitions. Some, those that are too highly leveraged, will just go broke.

Audio books. The new frontier for podcast platforms. Audio books have been around for a long time. Amazon claimed the ground years ago by grabbing book rights and being a first mover to own the reader platform Kindle. Amazon consolidated its monopoly by charging access fees and bundling audio books with other Amazon products. Audible and other services followed the same approach.

It was a great strategy, but in 2022 there are challengers and they are ready to take on the incumbents. Podcast platforms now have similar critical mass audiences on their music, podcast and radio services so why would they not eye the audio book market.

The ABC already has a great collection of book rights, gathered by ABC Publishing over many decades. They also have access to production studios, audio producers and great voiceover talent. The ABC has been building its library of audio books and is now offering them on the national broadcaster’s ABC Listen app. Expect other audio platforms to begin audio book offerings this year.

Kids Audio. Another growth area for 2022.

Educators have long known that putting kids in front if video screens limits their imagination and their forms of play. In recent years the same trend has emerged with game apps. How often do we see parents hand over their ipad or phone to kids to keep them quiet. But audio stimulates childrens’ imaginations and encourages them to engage with the things around them when they play, not just sit and watch a screen. ABC Kids is moving more into audio. SCA has bought Kinderling, a great kids audio channel and production house so surely has expansion plans. Watch this space.

What else is on the horizon?

More sophisticated branded podcast strategies and production styles, including shorter duration podcasts.

Further growth for paid music and podcast subscription services from the under 30 demographics, but continued resistance to payments in older age groups who resent paying fees to rent audio.

True crime and comedy were the most popular podcast genres in 2021, these trends will continue this year. The popularity of health and wellness , because covid doesn’t seem to have gone away yet. podcasts will also increase  Politics podcasts will also increase during 2022 in the lead up to an election, Alan Jones is already using podcasts and social media to go ‘direct to the people.’

But keep an ear out for political manipulation. Crickey’s Cam Wilson has revealed a trend towards undeclared, paid party political use of influencers on TikTok in contravention of the election rules in this excellent article. If you are putting political advertising in your podcasts make sure you declare it.

Amidst all this, free to air ad-supported radio is still a big audience driver on all audio platforms, that’s why Sirius in the US just spent squillions advertising its offerings on free to air radio. Live radio still delivers ears to advertisers in great numbers and delivers results. Broadcast radio and audio services do not always have to be enemies – their business models are different. This year may see both sorting out their differential business strategies and positioning themselves for the future.

The evolution of audio continues in 2022.

Abbie’s new show

When a social media or reality tv star gets a gig on radio, our comments page catches fire!

This happened with last week’s announcement that Abbie Chatfield is taking over Hit Network nights. There were critics and supporters of the decision, with some lamenting that an experienced radio person was not appointed, while others saw a new path to radio success – podcasting.

Once Abbie completed her reality tv time on The Bachelor, she developed her audio skills in a podcast, which was first heard on Nova’s podcast network and recently transferred to SCA’s LiSTNR.

One reader made the comment, referencing ARN’s ‘Podcast to Broadcast strategy’ with Life Uncut, that podcasting is a valid path to develop audio skills. Our contributor ‘Abbie Fan’ said:

“It’s a natural progression to bring podcast talent across to on air, and a lot of podcast talent are media/reality stars! Who knows what more shows we will see brought on air both from ARN and SCA (maybe nova too?)

“We can’t complain about these personalities being given these opportunities. They’ve built great brands for themselves. Abbie will be great. She is very funny and is obviously a smart business woman with the collaborations she’s done to date and now jumping ship to SCA and being given this opportunity.

“Radio is not always the first point of call for audiences anymore, current and emerging; tik tok, podcasts and other.

“Don’t fight it, embrace it.”

Another reader made the point that Abbie will be supported by a successful production team and that co-host Rohan Edwards, who has hosted afternoons on B105 for 6 years, has now worked his way up to a national show. Our commenter ‘Look Deeper You Plebs’ calls Rohan “A true radio bloke… it’s a great step up for him!” You can read all the comments below the report.

Podcasting has become another significant pathway to radio, just as radio hosts have also expanded their audience through podcasts for subjects they are passionate about. How podcasting and radio develop their symbiotic relationship over the next few years will determine the future of both audio media.

The title of Abbie’s radio show is Hot Nights. Judging by the topics discussed in many of her podcasts, such as Covid Made Me Cheat on You and her new style of tongue warm up exercises on Instagram, the show could indeed be hot.

We will watch to see the success of the show this year.


Dynamic Ad Insertion

50% of monthly podcast downloads come from older episodes, so dynamic ad insertion is very important to keep earning revenue from your productions.

If you baked in an ad for a festival two years ago when that episode was recorded, but the festival is now long finished, you are wasting your inventory and doing the festival organisers a disservice by delivering old messages. Dynamic ad insertion can maximise revenue and prevent bloopers.

Podcast platform Firstory studied 10,000 podcasts published on its platform for a year and found that 48.4% of total monthly downloads actually come from episodes published before that month. The study suggests that everyone should consider ad insertion.

Another development that will help maximise audience and revenue if Facebook’s move to ad podcast feeds to its platform. In the developed world there are plenty of podcast platforms and easy access to downloads, but in the developing world, there are many millions of people who consider that Facebook IS the internet. Because Facebook is often free on their data plans and is easy to use, audiences in these countries use it for almost all their internet access.

Putting podcasts more reliably and prominently on Facebook will introduce them to new audiences and expand the consumption worldwide. Of course, it is in Facebook’s interest to do this because it keeps consumers on their platform for longer, so Facebook will get big benefits from this move too. It seems like a win win situation.



 Neil Young vs Josh Rogan

There’s a few ways that society can keep rogue elements from going too far. Regulation. Public Pressure. Bottom line.

For podcasts, regulation is still a long time coming. Over the years laws were developed and regulators were commissioned to reign in any excesses in broadcast media. The Broadcasting Services Act and the regulator ACMA now have a tool kit to regulate broadcasters… but they are a long way off applying that regulation to podcasts because podcast publishers are international and the regulators are hopelessly inept at understanding, let alone governing new technology.

Public pressure is another way of ensuring compliance to social norms. Americans have been using this method for decades and Australians are now more active in using social media for the same purpose. While it can be effective from a public relations viewpoint, it does not always ensure change, because it may not affect the bottom line.

Boycotts that do affect the financials of a company often have the most success in causing companies to stop socially unacceptable things happening. That’s what’s going on now at Spotify.

Rock legend Neil Young contacted Spotify with an ultimatum; remove all of his music from the platform or remove podcasts produced by Joe Rogan. The singer accused Spotify of providing a platform for Joe Rogan to spread misinformation about Covid. It didn’t work, Rogan, who has a $100 million contract with Spotify, seems to be more valuable to the company’s bottom line than Neil Young, so they flicked Young and kept Rogen. Joni Mitchell has also pulled her songs from Spotify.

Until now it has been musicians verses podcasters, but that is just about to change. American research professor Brene Brown, another of Spotify’s star signings has just pulled her Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead podcasts from Spotify in protest against Joe Rogan. Since she is also a high profile premium talk podcast personality, rather than a musician, her move may threaten Spotify’s bottom line in a way that the others don’t. There’s an analysis of all the angles on this from Jen Seyderhelm here.

It’s always a delicate balancing act when you publish opinionated talk – you want audiences to be outraged sometimes, but not so much that they no longer listen, or in this case, cancel their paid subscriptions. Broadcasters spent decades working out where the boundaries were and regulators spent just as much time working out how to enforce those boundaries. Podcasting is still a young industry and those boundaries are not yet clearly defined. As we watch this dispute shake out we are watching events that will lead to new norms for the podcasting industry of the future.
Also today – there’s a new daily news podcast from the ABC. Check out our review of the first episode.

And heads up… If you are planning to enter this year’s Podcast Awards, the entry dates are now published here, giving you plenty of time to prepare.


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Check out all our podcasting articles here.

Podcast Award details here.


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