Scattered audience – A new hope for podcasting?

August 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm / by

“Audiences are divided like never before”. The words uttered by VO extraordinaire Gerard Fletcher in our first podcasting showreel 7 years ago. That script has undeniably stood the test of time. The fragmentation of viewers and listeners to all kinds of media  has only become more pronounced. We all know the halcyon days of 25 million people in one place at the same time for a sitcom, documentary or any other television died off when Methuselah’s endowment matured. I’d suggest that podcasting’s nearest cousin – radio hasn’t seen anything nearly so dramatic as the splintering of tv devotees. It has however taken some body blows.

Radio is beset by one chief issue; homegeny. Once you remove national stations (chiefly of the Beeb variety) from the equation, what you’re left with is not a pretty sight. “A better music mix” (and other equally unpalatable versions thereof) is in fact the exact opposite of what it professes to be. Presenters who are anything but, the same songs repeated ad infinitum and commercials that are more engaging than the “that was, this is” drones at the helm of this weasel worded bolus. Much of what was local radio has given way to podcasts. Intelligent content delivered (largely) in a professional way that thankfully transcends the wall to wall Robbie Williams served up by its DAB relation.

The key difference is of course that podcasting knows no geographical boundaries, it is not enslaved by transmitter power. You can reach listeners wherever there is appetite for your eloquent outpourings. Podcasting is more attuned to audience than video. There I said it. What sounds like the incoherent ramblings of a Philistine merits further investigation. Look at Youtube and there is a vast chasm between what I’d consider a successful video and something that is left to drift, forever condemned to an audience-less future. I frequently talk to businesses about the 26 views in 6 months reality of much that is on there. A cat on a zip wire garners 45 million views and (for no particular reason) a well made piece shot and edited beautifully dies a slow and agonising death, gasping for much needed promotion.

This is where the podcast is creating the wins. Podcasting communities are being built, events are being staged and wisdom is being exchanged. Take the UK Podcasting Directory (the link is to their very engaging facebook page) – they are being pro active in the way audiences are driven to podcasts and consolidated. Legitimate questions are being asked about how production values can be increased and critiques on content welcome. It lacks the complacency that affected much of the traditional broadcasters at the back end of the 90s right up to the decade we now live in. Of course there’s something to be said for belonging, but the appetite for knowledge, cross promotion and development gives podcasting much to look forward to.



1 Comment

  1. Dougall Frensham says:

    I’m not entirely convinced that radio feeds podcasting in the way you’ve described, but the article makes numerous good points.

Leave a Comment


— required *

— required *