Last week we spoke with Oli Walters, Head of UK Sales of the London-based podcast company audioBoom.
With the growing appeal in podcasts and enormous increase in listenership in recent years, our insights team were interested to know his thoughts on the medium in a broader sense.
Oli Walters: Podcasts have been on a very exciting journey so far, a journey that doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. AudioBoom as a business has grown exponentially since we launched, both in terms of commercial revenue and engaged audiences. Content has become more polished and our podcasters are developing new and exciting ways to engage with their fans through book deals, tours and even TV show commissions.
RadioWorks Group: Why do you think there’s been a sudden surge in the popularity of podcasts?
Oli Walters: Contrary to popular belief, podcasts aren’t just the latest buzzword that has cropped up in the past few years either. Storytelling is an ancient and powerful tool. The ability to process, remember and communicate stories is a power that we all possess. The first audio recording however is a little more recent than the stone age, 1800s to be exact. Ok, so that wasn’t a podcast as such, but since then it has been developed and as early as the 1980s we were able to distribute audio stories episodically; leap forward another 20 odd years and you arrive at the birth of the podcast.
My point is, people might only just now be discovering podcasts, but the fact is that they’ve been around for many many years, they’ve just not been accessible. 2018 thus far has been a mammoth year for podcasters and podcast networks. We’ve seen more investment in content and distribution this year compared to any other year. Google Home, Alexa & the Apple HomePod have all been very welcome additions, giving listeners the control to listen to content how they want to and when they want.
RadioWorks Group: What do you think is in store for podcasts and future listening habits?
Oli Walters: I can’t predict the future, but I do know that the smartphone isn’t going to become obsolete any time soon. I believe smartphones will continue to be a popular device choice for listening for years to come. Consumption habits, however, will diversify and people will be able to choose more ways to listen to their favourite podcasters. This will boost listening hours and people will consume more podcasts than ever before – right now, we’re merely scratching the surface of what is possible.