Yesterday was the release of Edison Research’s annual Infinite Dial study about internet radio, podcasting, mobile and social behavior.
There are a few eyebrow raising headlines for sure. Podcast listening showed sharp gains in both weekly and monthly listening leading Tom Webster to say this is not a niche medium, podcasting is officially mainstream.
It’s good to see podcasting still growing, and passing milestones. Is it mainstream? I don’t know. That’s a label to argue over I guess, but it’s not an argument I’m interested in.
What the study confirms for me is what I’ve known, and many have known for a long time, on-demand listening is going to continue to grow. Streaming will continue to grow. “Radio” needs to re-think content and distribution.
Terrestrial radio still reaches more people everyday. But it’s saturated and not growing. Listening habits are changing, especially among younger people. Radio brands need to adapt, and if you’re not a traditional radio brand you have opportunity in the “listening” space that was previously harder to penetrate.
It doesn’t take an MBA of PHD or an old FCC license to see the growth trend. While some folks are saying “Wow!” to yesterday’s headlines, to me it’s just a “yuuup.”
*not an “I told you so,” more of a “yeah, I know.. it’s cool, right?”
One of my favorite follows/reads is whatever Mark Ramsey is publishing. The other day he wrote What Podcasting Can’t Do and what he talks about are live events that demand live consumption from an audience. Think “Super Bowl” or “Oscars.” It’s a high bar.
I tried to think of something that was radio-only that demanded my live listening. The only thing I could come up with was Steve Dahl and Garry Meier’s annual live reading of their version of A Christmas Carol.
Thinking about the kind of programming you’re producing is something that is fascinating to me. What kind of programming works for live? What kind of programming works for on-demand? What kind of programming can be both? I’ve written before about radio’s on-demand problem and the challenges local TV faces in this space too.
Fresh Air and This American Life are public radio staples that have been appointment listening for many people for many years. They are consuming it “live” in their market. But they are also hugely popular podcasts for on-demand listening whenever the listener wants.
I made up a “programming spectrum” to visualize some examples, and I think it would be a great way for a station or brand to look at their programming. What are you creating for each end of the spectrum?
For me personally, there’s hardly anything I have to consume live. Sports is really it for me. I don’t like awards shows, I’m not into reality competitions and even Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Real Time and Last Week Tonight are shows that I watch on my own schedule.
A lot of shows like Walking Dead or How To Get Away With Murder or Game Of Thrones do a great job with social media and creating a “live” experience for their audience with Tweets and other things during the first airing of an episode, but you can still enjoy those shows days later.
Even with “Saturday Night Live” you can catch the best stuff online the next day and you’re not missing anything from the live airing. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is more of a collection of YouTube videos than it is a show.
If you’re in charge of your brand, it’s a good idea to take a look at the content you’re producing. What are you doing to create live events? What are you creating that has value past it’s first airing? Are you hitting all ends of the spectrum? Should you? Where is your audience, and when are they there?
Just a couple more:
HOT POD: If you’re not reading Nicolas Quah’s “Hot Pod” you should be. This week he writes about the iTunes podcast charts. Frankly, I’m sick of the iTunes podcast charts. They are pretty meaningless window dressing to me.
Jacobs Media: If you’re reading this, you probably already have Jacobs Media bookmarked. I liked this one about building a brand to last. It contains a link to another great read from Sean Ross When You Should Adapt A Niche Format