By Aishwarya Javalgekar
Podcasts have become increasingly popular around the world, with a steady increase in the number of podcast listeners over the last few years. In fact, India is now the 3rd largest podcast market in the world with over 40 million listeners in 2020! With books, Netflix, and other choices of formats and content to choose from, let’s find out why podcasts are so appealing to people in India.
1. Lots of Options!
From myths and true crime stories to teaching people how to develop habits or invest their money, podcasts come in all tones and episode durations for different types of listeners. For instance, ‘Education’ is the #1 podcast category on Spotify India, followed by ‘Lifestyle & Health’ and ‘Society & Culture’. Some podcasts have conversations between the host(s) and guests while others follow a storytelling format.
2. The Familiarity of Audio
India loves audio! Oral storytelling has always been a big part of Indian culture, from myths and folktales to storytelling art forms like Dastangoi to skits on FM radio. Podcasts simply provide the same nostalgia and feeling of community in a new format with added technology. This can also be seen in the rising audiobook numbers in India and the advent of Clubhouse.
3. Screen Fatigue
Home quarantine and remote working has exponentially increased the time we spend staring at screens. Whether we’re working, learning a new skill, relaxing with a new series, or socializing with friends and family, we subject ourselves to constant visual stimuli. Podcasts allow us to rest our eyes and yet listen to stories, learn new things, or simply feel the familiarity of listening to people have conversations around us. A respite from the crooked backs and strained eyes!
4. Convenience of Multitasking
With the blurring of our home and office environments, multi-tasking has become an essential part of our daily routine. And podcasts make this super convenient, allowing people to cook, finish household chores, go for a jog or even exercise while listening to our favourite authors or experts. Plus, we can always pause, skip or re-listen to something we missed while we were scrubbing that dish.
5. Break From The Pandemic Blues
The isolating nature of the pandemic has heightened our need for conversations and community. Podcasts have become a great way to disconnect from reality while still engaging deeply with the host or hosts. It’s like talking to a friend but without the expectation of high engagement and immediate replies.
6. Deeper and Authentic Connections
In a world of online-only interactions, social media can sometimes feel superficial and inauthentic. From Kalki Koelchin to Ankur Warikoo, anyone and everyone with a substantial following has realized the potential of podcasts to give their perspective, share their experiences, and engage deeper with people. And listeners also appreciate the glimpse into the lives of the people they admire. Companies and organizations like Bumble and Mad Over Marketing have also realized this opportunity and have started branded podcasts to talk to their community instead of just talking AT them.
Podcasts are becoming integral to how people learn, relax and consume content, especially the Millenials and Genz audience. Studies suggest that these numbers will keep rising even after the pandemic. If you haven’t started listening to podcasts yet, now is the time to start!
If you want to create your podcast for this growing community, Bound can help! We have an intensive masterclass coming up this month where you can learn to ideate, write and record a podcast in 2 weeks. You can find more about it here.
About the author
Aishwarya Javalgekar is a writer, editor and podcaster. She is the Head of Content and Podcasts at Bound and hosts The Book People podcast. She loves reading genre bending novels and coloring her hair.
Research by Divjot Kaur, a Delhi based writer and poet. She has been featured in Ink and Sword Magazine, Wing Word Poetry Prize anthology and the platform Baatein.