January 14, 2016
Podcasts have some unique challenges in attracting new listeners, since there is no universal method for sharing audio files on social media and distribution has been mainly limited to the Apple Podcasts app. However, podcasts like “Serial” are trying to change that by producing more multimedia content to make it easier to share on a wider variety of social media and spread the word about the show. Other brands, like Google Play and Pandora, are jumping into podcast distribution with new apps and products.
In fact, this shift away from the Apple Podcasts app is already underway. The second season of “Serial” began in December, and for the first time, listeners could also tune in to the show on Pandora.
The team behind the popular music streaming app thought that their users would be interested in another method of audio storytelling, so Pandora chops up the hour-long episodes of Serial to introduce it to their listeners. The company plans to do the same with “This American Life.”
“Podcasting seemed like an easy transition for a music listener who wanted to listen to other kinds of content,” explained Pandora product manager Scott Riggs in Wired. “What [Pandora] can do is bring this content in and offer it to those people, so they can listen without having to go through the hoops that exist today with podcasting.”
Only about 49 percent of Americans know what a podcast is and only 33 percent have ever listened to a podcast, according to an Edison Research study.
The audience has a lot of growing potential, and Pandora isn’t the only company trying to take advantage of that. Google Play will release its own podcast app so that Android users can have access to the medium. Pop-Up Archive, a company that transcribes podcasts, is developing a way for users to trim their favorite clips from a podcast and share them on social media.
Shareability is crucial for growing the audience of podcasts. WNYC has experimented with sharing full-length episodes of radio shows by embedding them on Facebook. “Serial” has created a vast array of multimedia content so that listeners can share photos, GIFs, videos, and interactive maps via platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and others.
Suddenly, podcasts are starting to look less like a one-platform story, and more like the TV shows and movies that have multiplatform sharing opportunities.
‘Serial’ Podcast, Needing More Reporting Time, Goes Biweekly, The New York Times, 1/12/16
Data Confirm That Podcasting in the U.S. is a White Male Thing, Quartz, 1/12/16