The New York Times already wants to know if weâ€™ve reached â€œpeak podcast,â€ and sometimes, yes, it seems like everybody has a show. Oprah, Shaq, reality TV stars, random friends of yours â€” everyone! The industry has existed for over a decade, but this year itâ€™s been particularly buzzy, especially after Spotify announced its plans to spend $500 million on podcast-related acquisitions. Even just this week, Bloomberg reported that Apple might start bankrolling exclusive shows for Apple Podcasts, too. Podcasts are expected to generate $1 billion in revenue by 2020, according to a study from Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC; the space is only going to continue to grow.
The industry has slowly gained traction since former Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the word â€œpodcastâ€ widely in 2005. But as it matures, and advertisers flood the space with more money, podcasts are starting to function more like the web. Ad tracking solutions are being created; more analytics are being released; and the ads themselves are becoming dynamic and smarter.
Like any content space thatâ€™s becoming friendlier to advertisers, people want to get in on it, which leads to articles suggesting podcasts have peaked. I mostly agree that the world probably doesnâ€™t need many more long-winded, unedited talk shows, but the space has far from peaked. International audiences already love podcasts, but thereâ€™s likely more room for growth and for translating existing shows into other languages. Also, the podcast space could benefit from a wider, more diverse pool of hosts, and itâ€™s encouraging to see Google, Spotify, and others seek out and support those voices. Plus, there are likely forms of audio that havenâ€™t been introduced yet, but could be breakthroughs in the space. Podcasts certainly havenâ€™t peaked yet, and if you thought everyone had a show already, just wait a few more years.