9 things you probably didn't know about the weird world of podcasts
by Jackie A
4 months ago
Podcasting is one of the world's fastest growing media, worth an estimated $900m
It's apparently surpassing social platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn in its popularity. In the US, the number of people who've listened to a podcast has passed 50% for the first time. In the UK, weekly podcast listeners have almost doubled in five years to six million in 2018. The fastest growing demographic in both countries? The under 24 year olds.
Anything goes - podcasting is a restriction-free zone
No government control, no licences and no conforming to any broadcasting decency regulations. You can talk about absolutely anything and swear as much as you like. Radical. (Except in China where last month 26 were given the chop for spreading “historical nihilism” and “pornography”.)
Podcasts were invented 15 years ago by former MTV video jockey
VJ Adam Curry, AKA The Podfather, hooked up with software developer Dave Winer and wrote a programme called iPodder, that allowed them to automatically download Internet radio broadcasts to their iPods. A bunch of other developers polished their idea and Guardian writer Ben Hammersleycoined the word by combining “iPod” and “broadcasting.” (Curry now hosts a pop-tech culture podcast called The Daily Source Code.)
Steve Jobs recognised its real potential, obvs
A year after its inception in 2005, the founder of Apple made listening to podcasts mainstream by building the concept of subscribing to them into the iTunes interface. Within two days, more than a million podcast subscriptions had been made. Clever Jobs. (Apple still dominates the podcast market).
Most podcasters start off as total amateurs
This must really irk professional radio broadcasters, but then dilettantes everywhere are now running the world. Take Keith and the Girl, a New York couple who got into podcasting early in 2005 to "talk shit". They are now a multi-media industry. BTW the most popular podcast series ever was in no way amateur - it was Serial, hosted by investigative journalist Sarah Koenig. Seasons one and two have been downloaded over 340 million times - an ongoing podcast world record.
Podcasts still confuse many people
Research last year by Edison revealed 37% didn't understand what a podcast was and 48% weren't sure how to listen to it. And of those who had never listened to a podcast, 80% said they didn't have a podcast app on their phone (they are invariably wrong - on an iPhone it's that little purple app that looks like a... microphone!).
Podcasts are absolutely free
Even when you subscribe. There is a common misconception that podcasts cost money - in fact in the same research last year, 48% of non podcast listeners thought subscribing to the podcast would mean paying for them.
There are over 730,000 podcasts and more than 34 million episodes out there
And most listeners are youngish (under 54), loyal, affluent and college educated according to research from podcasthosting.org. Which is why advertisers are fighting to pour their money into the popular ones.
757 podcasts are launched every day
Or thereabouts. That’s about one every three minutes. But there's also a high level of "podfading" - when the podcast stops being produced, usually after only seven episodes. (Anywhere between 50% and 75% of podcasts are no longer in production).
19% of podcast listeners increase the speed of the podcast delivery to sound like Minnie Mouse. Srsly? Get a life.This one's short enough.