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The Podcast: the Digital Tortoise

Helene Renaud

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Helene Renaud

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October 15, 2020

You might have noticed it, I’m in love with podcasts. And those who follow me on LinkedIn probably saw that this love has led me to create my very own podcast. But why am I such a big fan of them? And why did I decide to create one myself?

 

A quick history of podcasts

Podcasts have been around since 2005 when Apple first introduced them to the iPod (iPod + broadcast = podcast). But the success of the new medium was limited and seemed to be on the path of a quiet death. 

However, now pretty much everyone has a smartphone in their pockets, we are living in what could be called a “Podcast Renaissance”. Smartphones allow users to download their podcasts wherever they go and play them seamlessly in their car with a Bluetooth connection. 

Every medium needs a breakthrough moment and for the podcast, this was “Serial” in 2014. The true-crime podcast appealed to a very broad audience and by means of word of mouth, the podcast became an international hit in no time with over 40 million downloads by the end of the first season.

The success inspired thousands of innovative creators to start recording their own podcast shows on every single subject imaginable, fiction and non-fiction. Between 2019 and 2020, Spotify invested no less than $600 million (!) in podcast-related acquisitions. It’s become a worldwide multi-million business. And a lot of brands want a piece of the cake.

Why podcasts?

  • The simplicity

What I like most about podcasts is their simplicity. Once you’ve found the right episode, you put on your headphones or speakers, and press play! While you listen, you can do chores, cook, or even drive your car. You wouldn’t dare to read a book while driving, right? It’s effortless, which makes it even more addictive.

  • The ability to capture the listener’s attention

When you want to capture somebody’ attention with a video or a blog article, you have to do it in the opening seconds. The podcast is a much slower-burning medium, with episodes easily passing the one hour mark. Listeners closely pay attention to what’s being said. And when they missed a bit, they don’t hesitate to rewind in order to properly understand the content.

  • The proximity

You have podcasts about every subject in the world. So whoever you are, you’re sure to find a podcast that will match your interests. And when you do, you’ll build a genuine relationship with the podcaster you’re listening to. These podcasters gather an actual following because of their voice and for what they represent.

And last but not least, podcasts are just a very welcome change to the frantic chaos of the web. Finally, a relaxing way to get informed about subjects that interest us. A reminder of the good old days!

As Farhad Manjoo wrote in the New York Times in 2015: “It is that rarest thing in the technology industry: a slow, steady and unrelentingly persistent digital tortoise.” He was right, the podcast keeps going at its own steady pace, it has already reached some incredible heights and surely still has a bright future ahead of her.

I’m excited for sure. Are you?

 

Helene Renaud

Co-founder of Absolute Agency

 

Writing by Helene Renaud / Copywriting by Louis Liekens

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