Commentary

Apple News, NPR Affirm Need For Publishers' Podcasts

Publishers that are debating whether to start a podcast should consider several developments this week that indicate growing interest in the portable audio format. Podcasting is growing as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts media consumption habits, including drive-time radio listening.
Apple started a daily podcast called "Apple News Today," while its Apple News+ digital newsstand began streaming audio versions of stories from magazines such as Esquire, Essence, GQ, Sports Illustrated, Time, Vanity Fair and Vogue, along with newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.
It's interesting that Apple sees value in turning magazine content into an aural experience, which is a good idea. It gives iPhone users a way to consume content from almost anywhere.

advertisement

advertisement

Even if fewer people are driving to the office, they can still listen to podcasts while doing other activities, like household chores, exercising or just relaxing. The big question is how long those habits will last.

National Public Radio this week provided some dramatic evidence of how much people's consumption habits have changed during the pandemic. Its podcast downloads and app usage climbed by about 25% in the second quarter from a year earlier, partly offsetting a steep loss in its radio audience, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik reported this week.
For the first time, the broadcaster is likely to make more money from podcasts than from conventional radio shows, even as its total sponsorship revenue drops by $23 million this year. NPR last year had projected that podcasting revenue would overtake radio, and the pandemic appears to have hastened that shift toward digital audio.
These developments follow Omnicom Media Group's announcement last week that it planned to spend $20 million for ad placements in Spotify's podcasts during the second half of the year.
The commitment to podcasting from a major media agency is a strong sign that advertisers see the audio format as a promising promotional channel that publishers should consider developing.
Next story loading loading..