Tired of Netflix and Amazon Prime this Covid-19 season? Why don’t you try podcasts?

While the nationwide lockdown has certainly been difficult for many businesses, the wonders of technology have enabled many businesses, including podcast channels, to adapt to working from home smoothly.

Highlights

  • As the nationwide lockdown appears to be never ending, people are tuning in to podcasts to escape from the gloom and anxiety.
  • The quarantine period gave Aawaz.com the opportunity to launch new features during the lockdown period dedicated to mental wellness and relaxing.
  • Experiencing a similar jump, Hubhopper founder Gautam Raj Anand said the platform witnessed a 35-40% increase in consumption of storytelling podcasts during the night time.
While transistors and radio may be a thing of the past for millennials and Gen Z, the interest in audio content is slowly switching to podcasts. According to an Adobe Analytics report, 33% of millennials are listening to five or more podcasts in a week. The convenience of listening to audio content of their choice of genre and preferred devices seems to be definitely striking a chord with this generation. And, in the list of recreational activities and newfound hobbies during the quarantine period, listening to podcasts has gained popularity.

As the nationwide lockdown appears to be never ending and the number of cases spike to over 6000 a day, people are tuning in to podcasts to escape away from the gloom and anxiety.

“We have seen more than 22% increase in user engagement and even the listening duration has increased by 30%. Earlier it used to be 9-10 minutes per session, now it has reached to 14-15 minutes,” Sreeraman Thiagarajan, co-founder, Aawaz.com told ET Digital.


He added that podcasts around mental wellness, relaxing music, news and info about coronavirus is topping the charts.

“While stories and content with humor is seeing growth, we have two anomalies; listenership of devotional and spiritual content is going down and the horror genre is rising up,” he quipped.

The quarantine period gave Aawaz.com, whose majority of the listener base (60%) is millennials, the opportunity to launch new features during the lockdown period dedicated to mental wellness and relaxing.
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Experiencing a similar jump, Hubhopper CEO and founder Gautam Raj Anand said the platform witnessed a 35-40% increase in consumption of storytelling podcasts during the night time. Further, there is not only an increase in the number of listeners, but also in podcast creators.

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“We saw a remarkable jump of 40-50% in the creation of podcasts on our platform. People have been making a lot more podcasts during this period across different genres,” Anand told ET Digital.

He explained that while they are seeing a good amount of listeners from Tier-I and II cities, the consumption is a little more in Tier I cities as people in Tier-II wrap up their day earlier.

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Talking about the age group present on the platform, the millennials have taken the cake when it comes to content creation. “However, there are also people past the age of 45 who create a lot of business podcasts,” he said, adding that the creators between 18-30 are driven more towards entertainment and storytelling.

On the consumption side, he mentioned an increase of listeners from the age group of 16-32.

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When asked about the content users are consuming, Anand said while religion and storytelling are doing really well at the moment, comedy content is also topping the charts.

“I think people are trying to put themselves into a lighter mood during this period of crisis, they are trying to sweep themselves into another reality altogether,” he said.

Talking on the same lines, Kavita Rajwade, co-founder, IVM Podcasts told ET Digital that their platform is witnessing the entry of many new listeners from Tier 2 cities with a majority of them consuming motivational, self help, humor and religious content.

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Kavita Rajwade, co-founder, IVM Podcasts.


Speaking on the rise of podcast consumption during the ongoing lockdown, Gaana, CEO, Prashan Agarwal observed, “There has also been a significant surge in non-music content consumption including podcasts across all genres including stories, comedy, kids, motivational, devotional, meditation & workout and entertainment among others during the ongoing nationwide lockdown. This is aligned with the overall increase in traffic as people are increasingly turning to music streaming platforms to relax and soothe themselves in times of such crisis.”

Agarwal says that to cater to this rising demand, Gaana has been working to innovate and produce relatable and original podcasts that engage discerning Indian audiences. “We have recently launched our second batch of platform-exclusive line-up of podcasts and shows, including ‘Umeed by Zakir Khan’, ‘Corona Se Jeetengey’ & ‘DIY Karona’ that are commissioned by our internal team and produced by our in-house creative shop Gaana Studios,” says Agarwal.

Music fests in your living room
While the nationwide lockdown has certainly been difficult for many businesses, the wonders of technology have enabled many businesses, including podcast channels, to adapt to working from home smoothly.

“We have had to move our entire edit bay to operate out of engineer homes so that we kept our release schedule intact. Hosts are recording their shows from their respective homes and hence audio quality of the final product is a compromise. But we can't complain because our fans are really happy and we didn’t have to suspend our shows through lockdown,” she said.

Similarly, the quarantine period didn’t hamper operations of Bengaluru-based social audio platform Headfone. According to Pratham Khandelwal, co-founder, Headfone, their team of engineers and content developers were well-equipped to carry out work from home easily and these days audio content can be simply created at home.

Khandelwal claimed that this has led to a growth in the creation of audio content in Headfone by 40% in the month of April. Further, this result has encouraged the firm to organize music fests and storytelling competitions sitting at homes.

“Headfone has always been a social platform and most of the interactions were happening between listeners and content through likes and comments. With Covid lockdown, listeners have started interacting directly with creators, and even among themselves. Headfone users from all over India are coming together to form groups and to organize music fest, storytelling competitions and various other events sitting in their homes. We have started focussing on this to assist the users in organizing such events and make our community even stronger,” he said.
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