This year we decided to present our annual industry podcast predictions in two parts. If you haven’t read Part One, you can read it here.
Part Two is all about what, how, and why we will be listening to what we are listening to. You will find some of the same industry experts that appeared in our first part, along with a few new voices.
Again, we want to thank all of our amazing contributors for sending us their sage and brave predictions. We are proud to be part of such an amazing community.
How It Works
We received over 75 predictions from our thought leaders. After reviewing them all, we looked for trends and themes. What are the most talked about topics and what assertions were being made time and again? This is what we found.
| 9 | This is what we will be listening to (and watching) Stories will expand beyond one entertainment space more than ever before
We’ll hear more ride-along podcasts for TV shows and movies, serving superfans with additional content. –Julie Shapiro, VP of Editorial, PRX & Radiotopia
Premium production studios will continue to partner with A-list talent and work more closely with Hollywood film studios. –Yale Yee, Partner, Telos Advisors LLC
And, Fiction will be what really breaks on through to the other side
Fiction is on the cusp of transforming the podcast charts. And that’s great news to a Gen Xer like myself who grew up in Germany, a mecca for audio dramas not just for kids. A fully-dramatized audio experience beats an audiobook read by a single voice any day of the week. In 2022, more people will discover the pleasure of immersive, serialized audio fiction. If Dickens lived today, he’d be a podcaster! –Alex Schaffert, COO APM Studios
Fiction, more fiction, and even more fiction is on the horizon, along with star-studded casts and industry announcements about these star-studded casts. –Julie Shapiro, VP of Editorial, PRX & Radiotopia
Pacific Content’s take: We are believers! Fiction podcasts will see massive growth in 2022. Legacy TV networks will add notable podcasts as part of their offering to audiences, in part to test out dramas and comedies before they make big investments in pilots. This will continue to ramp up. And audiences will be able to follow their favourite stories from podcast to tv to film and back.
Streaming giants, like Netflix and Amazon, will continue to ramp up their investment in podcasting, not only in original or exclusive content but in creating shows that accompany their most popular series.
| 10 | Celebrity podcasts will no longer be a novelty
During the lockdown… celebrities were sitting at home with nothing to do so they interviewed their celebrity friends in a podcast […] Huge talent often make great content because they’re widely loved and they’re good at what they do, but they need to be supported. They’re a fantastic key ingredient, not a crutch or the sole selling point of a podcast. So in 2022, the lazy celebs will have their regular TV work to go back to soon, and the rest of us will continue creating adventurous, exciting shows that people love. –Neil Cowling, Founder, Fresh Air Production
By now we all know about the familiar celebrity trend that the pandemic ushered in, whereby a pause in film production, meant an entree into podcasting. By this time next year, this mania will have come to an end, and celebs entering the space will be more self-selecting and appropriate. Buyers will still be keen on celebrities, but will also be excited about Youtube, TikTok, and Crypto Influencers. –Shira Atkins, Co-founder, Wonder Media Network
The primary content trend I see on the horizon is a devilish convergence of two of my favorite genres: The Real Housewives and True Crime podcasts. –Laura Mayer, Head of Creative and Editorial, Three Uncanny Four
Pacific Content’s take: The rise of the celebrity podcast during the pandemic has done no harm to the industry. If anything, it may have drawn in more listeners and advertising dollars.
Podcasting will continue to be an avenue for artists and entertainers, though the age of let’s ‘press record and release’ style of podcasting will dwindle. Podcasts with formatting, high production values, and premium content will overshadow them. As podcasting matures, celebrities’ appearances on podcasts will be a more and more viable way to promote their upcoming work (TV, Film, Books), especially if they want to appeal to specific audiences. Many podcasts can now serve the same purpose that Morning and Late Night shows have served—promoting media and entertainment releases.
| 11 | The Morning Commute Will Come Back… as will School Drop Offs (and the Family Routine)
Schools have reopened and families are returning to pre-pandemic routines, including the morning commute. And to parents, the ability to access audio that will reliably entertain and educate little passengers on the back seat matters. As a result, paid podcast services with above-average kids’ offerings will have a competitive advantage in 2022. –Alex Schaffert, COO, APM Studios
Kids & Family programming will continue to rise rapidly: kids & family content will always be crucial in all corners of media, and we’re finally starting to establish it as a mainstay in audio. We’re going to see a steady rise in popularity, another sharp spike in new content, and an explosion of innovation and creativity. It’s a really exciting space to play in. –Alia Tavakolian, Co-founder & EVP of Content, Spoke
Podcasting will get older. The biggest increases will come from 45+ car drivers as we fully embrace listening to whatever we want, whenever we want. –Richard Blake, Director of Marketing, Fresh Air Production
Pacific Content’s Take: Returning to routine means that people may be listening to podcasts in the car as a group. This provides both a challenge and opportunity for family content… With more places and times to be listening together… new stories can be created that can appeal to intergenerational listeners. What podcast company will be the Pixar of podcasting?
| 12 | Non-English language podcasts will foster new audiences across the globe
We will see more multilingual content across the globe. I don’t mean just podcasts translated from one language to the other but instead the same show created for varying cultural audiences. –Shreya Sharma, Writer/Curator, Inside Podcasting
Languages will go from being considered a barrier to being an opportunity to connect with even more audiences. Just as we now reimagine our audio stories as live shows or books or tv series, in the new year we will see more and more makers creating their stories in more than one language and therefore making good on the global reach of our medium. –Martina Castro, Founder & CEO, Adonde Media
As international TV hits like Squid Games and Money Heist take global audiences by a storm, so too will non-English storylines adapted from podcasts to TV and film become global sensations. We predict in 2022 that the first Arabic podcasts will be adapted to TV and film, paving the way for future global hits from the Arab region to the world. –Hebah Fisher Co-Founder, CEO & Bella Ibrahim, Marketing Director, Kerning Cultures
Global growth continues…. We have seen podcasting be a truly global format but there now seems to be a clearer profile of what content is working in what markets, and while there are some similarities across the globe, what is most interesting is true market nuances and cultural differences that are the core of what is working. -Courtney Holt, Global Head of Podcasts and New Initiatives, Spotify
Pacific Content’s take: The biggest growth is podcast audiences will be outside of North America and many of those audiences will not be listening in English. This is good news for creators and audiences. It will diversify the points of view that we find in the podcasting landscape and expand the listenership. Podcast companies and networks will not merely translate its current lineup of shows but create or recreate shows for different markets in different languages.
| 13 | Some Sound Designers and Podcasters will get really experimental
They’ll be a new form of podcast storytelling that we haven’t even thought of yet. It will combine dizzying sound design with a format that gets you lost in your headphones and missing your stop. I wonder who will come up with it? How exciting! –Richard Blake, Director of Marketing & Growth, Fresh Air Production
Podcasters will continue to experiment with digital video for a while — and then realize there’s no need[…] They are already getting a “video CPM” and superfan engagement — with audio production costs and efficiencies. And consumers prefer using their ears, not their eyes, for podcasting. Podcasting is working well in every way (pricing, fan engagement, costs) — it does not need “fixing.” –Conal Byrne, CEO, iHeartMedia’s Digital Audio Group
Podcasters are going to have to develop visual strategies in order to make their content visible and appealing on services like YouTube and Facebook. The benefits of discovery outweigh the potential cost and effort. –Tom Webster, Senior Vice President, Edison Research
Interactive audio will play a bigger part in the creation of marketing campaigns. As the experts work on dispelling the false notions around attribution in podcasts, more brands that have traditionally not considered audio a part of their arsenal will turn to customized and targeted solutions such as interactive audio. –Shreya Sharma, Writer/ Curator, Inside Podcasting
Pacific Content’s take: The potential for new forms of audio storytelling and what they can do is still being written. We will see creators and tech innovators experiment with how audio can be delivered and on what devices it can be consumed. Platforms will play with how listeners experience podcasts, particularly around personalization — applications for tailoring preferences will become more sophisticated and creators and marketers will also benefit.
| 14 | The competition for our attention will amp up: game on
Spotify will continue to grow, and become unarguably the most popular podcast app in most countries. To combat this, Apple Podcasts will launch an Android app, and become a champion of the open podcast ecosystem. –James Cridland, Editor, the Podnews Network
The content buying frenzy will cool off as the largest listening apps produce more originals. We’ll see fewer exclusive deals and acquisitions of existing podcast content compared to years past, with the major listening apps likely launching more walled-garden originals instead to compete for app users. –Oskar Serrander, COO, Acast
The war for premium content will continue, primarily in the form of exclusive license deals with minimum guarantees. –Yale Yee, Partner, Telos Advisors LLC
Improved curation tools for podcasters to set up their own content in ways that suit them across platforms. e.g. playlists, advanced filtering/ search, etc. –Hana Walker-Brown, Creative Director, Broccoli Productions
Pacific Content’s take: The big platforms are investing more in podcasting. And, it’s time for them to be able to show the audience growth to their shareholders. Sought-after content will drive a lot of this growth but usability and user experience will also be key. The platforms that fall short of providing the content and experience will begin to struggle.
Read Part One, “In the Year 2022: Predicting the Near Future of Podcasting”
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