From the time podcasts were developed in 2004 until about five years ago, these on-demand audio broadcasts suffered from an image problem. The perception was podcasts were the lowest rung on the broadcasting ladder. They were a graveyard for washed-up media personalities who hoped to preserve any modicum of relevancy or an outlet for wanna-be broadcasters who weren’t good enough to make the cut in traditional media.
Once broadband internet accelerated the consumption of digital media, especially on mobile devices, and mainstream personalities such as Adam Carolla moved to the medium, this perception gradually reversed course. Not only did podcasting gain credibility, program quality vastly improved. As a result, the number of podcast listeners is rapidly increasing every year, reaching record numbers in 2015. As audiences have embraced this once-snubbed medium, so have marketers for high-profile national brands such as HBO and Burger King, as well as hip startup brands like Warby Parker and MailChimp.
What does this mean for magazine publishers? In an age where periodical publishing has given way to being omnipresent across all media platforms all the time, podcasting may be the next frontier to reach a new and broader audience while generating additional revenue.
Defining an Exploding Market
When Inc. magazine editor James Ledbetter was approached late last year about developing a partnership with a soon-to-be-launching podcast network owned by his former employer, Slate, he called the decision “a no-brainer.”
Ledbetter was a podcasting advocate but previously rejected the idea when it was broached in-house. He changed his mind when presented with this opportunity to join a network with the potential to immediately draw a larger audience while tapping into the expertise and resources of the podcast pioneers at Slate.
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