By Mike Newman, Head of UK Content Partnerships at Audioboom
As it draws to a close, the summer of 2018 will certainly be remembered for the heat (oh, that heat!) but for the podcast industry in the UK it was significant for more than just record breaking temperatures.
Aside from the weather, the two biggest talking points of the summer seemed to be England’s improbable journey to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia and the perhaps less than improbable return of Love Island to the ITV2 schedule.
Our renewed love affair with the beautiful game and the ongoing love affairs of the beautiful people of Love Island meant that however extensive the TV coverage was, it still wasn’t enough to satisfy the appetite of some fans, and that meant great things for podcasting.
Love Island’s dedicated daily podcast sat at the top of the Apple Podcast chart for what seemed like months. I can only imagine that the reason it didn’t get knocked from its perch by a World Cup podcast was that there were so many of them out there. The Totally Football Show with James Richardson, from the Audioboom stable, was just one of the high performing podcasts jockeying for space every day of the tournament in a crowded Top 20, each delivering their own take on the tournament to a different and discerning audience.
Both the World Cup and Love Island were created as mass market entertainment, meaning any podcasts produced in their wake also basked in that mass market glow — make no mistake, this was mainstream entertainment and it marked a statement of intent from the podcast industry.
The Midas Audience Survey for Summer 2018 suggested that podcasting enjoys a 12% reach amongst adults in the UK, delivering an impressive 20% lift year on year; a figure made all the more impressive when you consider this data was compiled in May, long before the kick off of the World Cup or Love Island. We’ll have to wait until the Midas survey for Autumn to see their impact, but it’s no stretch to suggest we can expect further impressive growth.
Growing the listener base of podcasting is vital for every podcast platform and provider and these mainstream hits will help propel the industry as a whole — a growing audience means growing revenues, but even better than that is growing new audiences and new revenues. Much like any business, reaching brand new audiences is vital to our growth. New audiences, hearing from clients and brands that have never advertised on a podcast before. Success will breed success.