November 16, 2017

Podcasts are great – why isn’t everyone listening?

Sampsa Fabritius

CEO of Kieku Labs

How can something with hundreds of millions of monthly downloads be a niche media form? Enter podcasts. For those who haven’t dived off the podcasting deep end yet, podcasts are like listening to (hopefully) interesting people discuss subjects you (hopefully) care about. Have a deep passion for French cinema? There’s a podcast for that. Australian non-profit organisations? That too. In short, they’re great. But why isn’t everyone listening?

Sometimes people want something light, funny, whatever – and they want it now. They might also want something that can be listened to during a 10-minute walk to the cornershop – sorry, Dan Carlin. There is a pretty big opportunity for podcasters to attract new listeners by creating short-form audio, as long as people can find it – and listen to it – when they want. Get it?

This is where the robots can help. Instead of looking through a library to find a couple-of-minutes long snippet, AI can do the legwork for you. Imagine a world where robots understand what you want, and give it to you. Both long-form, and short-form in particular, would experience a nice little bump in audience numbers. Woohoo!

How will this world where short-form and long-form content magically finds the right listeners come to be? A couple of tweaks will do the trick. AIs that learn your taste and choices and bring the content you want much closer to your ears are already being developed.

These need to be backed by audio platforms with purpose – places that prioritise positive change over a few bucks. We’ve seen what commercialised content discovery has done to Facebook – let’s put people’s needs ahead of those of companies.

There you have it. Keep your ear to the ground, changes are afoot in the podcast universe.

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