Joe had a moment of surprise when he realized that, not only does he no longer listens to radio, he doesn’t even own a radio! Over the past few years, he had transferred his listening time from linear radio to on-demand podcasts. And he hadn’t even noticed the shift in his media consumption – until his wife threw out the last radio in their house.
A recent report out of the UK suggests that Joe isn’t alone:
Since 2010, around 840,000 15 to 24-year-olds have switched off for good, according to research from Enders Analysis. And among the 6.5 million or so who do still tune in, the amount of time they spend listening has plummeted 29% between 2010 and 2018.
Both Martin and Gini also have noticed a shift in their media consumption. Not just one that adds to their daily information diet. But a shift that has replaced one medium with another.
So, if podcasting is constituting a greater portion of many people’s media consumption, you just know that advertisers are eyeing it and entrepreneurs are looking to provide them with a new medium to reach consumers. We’ve seen Spotify’s big move, acquiring Gimlet and Anchor. This is unlikely to be the last move of this sort.
As others follow, what does that mean for the open podcasting system that has let enthusiast and professional podcasters coexist? Will services like Spotify start to push the enthusiasts off to the side, out of sight, as they promote their own professionally produced podcasts so that they can maximize revenue? Sound familiar? Substitute the words blog and Facebook for podcasts and Spotify.
So, is this the end? Not necessarily. It may be possible for two systems of podcasting to existing together, thanks to things like Patreon, which didn’t exist during the rise of Facebook and the decline of blogs, along with membership-oriented initiatives life that being advanced by outlets like Slate.