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A Promising Digital Audio Future

Despite being a late entrant, India has become the third-largest podcast market globally in a relatively short span

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The podcast industry has seen 129,000 per cent growth over the last decade but relatively speaking, India has been a late entrant to the digital audio space. This has changed as India now represents the third-largest market for podcast listeners globally. In a relatively short span of time, since I founded Hubhopper in 2015, we have seen immense user growth.

Whilst it is fair to say a lot of this growth tracks with the proliferation of smartphones in India and the entrance of Reliance Jio offering almost universally affordable data, the success of podcasts goes beyond this. Podcasts naturally tie into our psyche as humans, they tap into our ancient desire to tell a story via word of mouth and are a well-suited form of information and entertainment for our fast-moving modern lifestyles.

Podcasts enable the listener to absorb content whilst they are performing daily tasks âs driving, exercising, or cooking, etc. We have also seen a tendency for podcast demand to follow the Indian audience’s cultural tendency to spirituality and oral histories, with genres in this space such as society, spirituality and education as the top-ranking genres.

Beyond the listener, brands are also starting to see the value of podcasts as a medium that creates the listener’s trust. Podcasts enable brands to create an advert the audience wants to listen to.

We have been able to support many Indian brands developing podcasts over the last few years and this is something you will start to see a lot more of.

In terms of listeners, podcasts are continuing to grow as an entertainment and news medium across the country, with Indian podcast listenership up 2,400 per cent in the last three years. Whilst this is still dominated by English, we will start to see more podcasts in regional languages and Hubhopper currently hosts creators in 15 Indian languages.

Unlike literature or video content, audio doesn’t require one to be glued to a screen to create or consume, which offers a huge benefit for people with visual impairments, and we will also see growth here with podcasts offering wider accessibility.

Given the ease of creating a podcast now there is very little barrier to entry that you would have with video. We are constantly working and driving product development to support this growth.

We are about to launch Hubhopper Studio’s android app to support even more people to create podcasts with very limited resources.

We are also delighted to have just agreed to a partnership with UPES School of Modern Media, Dehradun — through this partnership, we can support the next generation of students to understand the opportunities podcasting offers whether these are creators, marketers or brands.

The future of digital audio content in India is just starting, as a recent PWC report estimates that we will see a 30 per cent annual growth rate of monthly podcast listeners in India.

Alongside this, we are seeing a shift in consumer listening habits across the audio space as users move to legitimate platforms on premium and freemium models to listen to music.

As we become more comfortable paying for content as a society we will continue to see a huge growth in creators who see podcasts as an established medium as aspiring actors view TV and film, or journalism students who saw magazines 10 years ago.