2018 has been a breakthrough year for podcasting. First, the amount of content being created is soaring. There are over 619,000 podcasts on Apple Podcasts/iTunes alone, with independent and professional content coming from everywhere in the world. That increasing popularity has come with higher quality content, and that’s attracting the attention of programmers from other media: HBO grabbed WNYC’s 2 Dope Queens and Pod Save America, while Amazon Prime Video took on Gimlet’s Homecoming, creating a streaming video series with Julia Roberts on board as the star.
Entertainment programmers aren’t the only ones taking notice. Advertisers are also realizing that podcast advertising is an effective way to reach highly-targeted and engaged audiences. Podcast advertising is also “growing up” with the benefit of hindsight, so we’re avoiding many of the growing pains experienced by other digital ad formats. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has already released its Podcast Measurement Guidelines and is rolling out its official podcast host certification program with some of the largest providers.
This year, we also saw several tech industry giants launch podcast-related initiatives. Streaming music platforms Pandora and Spotify both entered the market for the first time, each with a slightly different approach. Spotify went all in, adding hundreds of thousands of shows and reaching new audiences worldwide. And while Pandora started with fewer than 1,000 podcasts, it’s got big plans for a lot more in 2019 with its Podcast Genome Project, which just opened for public submissions.
2018 also saw some shake up in the production side of the equation, with Panoply, the podcast network from Slate, exit the content business to place a bigger focus on the hosting and advertising technology side of their business, Megaphone. But as is often the case, when one door closes, another opens, and the announcement that former Slate Group editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg was starting a new podcast company with Malcolm Gladwell followed shortly thereafter.
The Biggest Podcast Industry Breakthroughs of 2018
- Growing mainstream attention brings more investment in high-quality content
- Advertising infrastrastructure takes shape with IAB Podcast Measurement Guidelines
- Big tech brings in new investments to grow the medium
2018 was also the first year of Voxnest, which was born with a mission to enable anyone to seize the podcasting opportunity, both through our tools for professional-calibre content production and our advertising solutions that enable more podcasters to monetize that content.
So in celebration of our first anniversary and another amazing year for our industry, we introduce our first annual State of The Podcast Universe report.