By Simon Owens
We’ve seen a new phrase enter our lexicon in recent months: the “Serial effect.” Google it and you’ll find this neologism employed everywhere from The Hollywood Reporter to USA Today, and it’s used to describe the cambrian explosion caused by Serial, a podcast that relitigates the trial of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 1999. This podcast was so popular, the thinking goes, that it’s introduced millions of new listeners to the podcasting medium, in the process unleashing a tide that lifts all boats. Podcasts are now considered part of mainstream culture, a topic of watercooler conversation as well as a booming market for advertisers.
And there is evidence that the Serial effect is, indeed, real. Edison Research found that podcast listenership has increased by 18 percent in the last year. Each day we hear news of media companies launching new podcasts, the emergence of podcast networks, successes in podcast crowdfunding, and even the introduction of venture capital money. It’s hard to read that Marc Maron pulls in $15,000 for every podcast ad and not conclude that real money is being made on this platform that, up until a few months ago, was considered a hobbyist niche. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we see articles within the next year questioning whether we’ve entered a podcast bubble, one that’s produced an oversaturated market.
But though the Serial effect is genuine, new data reveal how any growth was relative and that we’re nowhere near reaching podcasting’s full potential, both in readership and revenue. According to a new fact sheet released by Pew, the percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast within the last month sits at 17 percent, a mere two points above where it was in 2014. As Nick Quah wrote in his podcast newsletter Hot Pod, “the gains in podcasting over the past several months were significant in relative terms, but are really a drop in bucket in absolutes, particularly in the more significant metrics: listenership, brand awareness, so on and so forth.”
Read the rest at this source We’re Only at the Very Beginning of the Podcast Boom | RYOT News
So, I’ve been podcasting since before it was cool.
Back in 2006, when I first discovered podcasts, I subscribed to Dirty Little Secrets, the original podcast by XXXChurch, as well as Bethel’s sermon of the week podcast, and something else, but I can’t remember now what it was. I subscribed to three podcasts because I didn’t know any other ones yet. Now, I can’t keep caught up with the ones I subscribe to! Less than a year after I discovered them I started my own and after ten episodes finally settled on the name Fire On Your Head, and with a few hiccups along the way, I’ve not had more than a 6 month pause in recording new episodes.
Eight years after starting my podcast, I’m still explaining to people what a podcast is. So in that sense, I agree that we’re still pioneering the art form of podcasting and that, depending on who you ask, it’s not necessarily as mainstream as you’d think it would be by now.
I agree with Owens that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to podcast adoption. But I’m not so sure if podcasting will ever truly get bigger than it is. We’ll see.
Read the rest of the article and its findings here.