It is not in the Stars to Hold our Destiny but in Ourselves

Podcasting came to India only about 3 years back though it existed for almost 10 Years. But, when it did come to India, did we adopt Podcasting the right way or, did we really mess it up?

The first podcast I listened to was in 2003. I am not really sure if it was called a podcast, then.

It was from a blogger who I was following. In fact, he was my Dronacharya in blogging and digital marketing.

I followed him like Eklavya (No, I didn’t give my right thumb to him as Guru Dakshina, though) and all of the initial knowledge on everything blogging came from him.

He had these short audio posts on his website. I don’t remember, what he called it back then. He used to release these posts regularly and I really loved them, so I would listen to every one of them.

Audio has the power to keep us glued. And that’s where Podcasting has the upper edge amongst all forms of content.

But then, is audio new to any of us?

Rewind a little and try to recollect those days when you would wait for “Binaca Geetmala” on that small audio box at home. At least, we who were born in the late seventies and early eighties would remember. Don’t we?

Radio was a companion for many in those days. It was the much needed entertainment for the tired and weary minds.

With technology, Radio had to change and change it did. While the conventional radio made a comeback with the FM channels, another concept called on-demand radio or, audio (whichever way you would like to call it) also slowly rolled in, thanks to Steve Jobs and his iPod.

But in India, it took us more than a decade and a half to adopt this new concept of Radio.

We Indians are a different lot. Companies change their marketing strategies just so that they could adopt to the Indian market.

That’s our influence.

But then, concepts and strategies get battered, tattered and shredded when we take them up and implement it.

Podcasting, too had to change itself to suit to the Indian market.

So when Podcasting launched, the first thing (and this is something we are so programmed to, thanks to FREEBIE politics) to come in was “FREE” hosting.

I still remember the time I launched my first podcast – DKSpeaks Podcast in 2006. I couldn’t find a single podcasting hosting that offered FREE hosting. Everyone of them out there was paid.

I wasn’t ready to commit myself and hence went through various hoops, eventually ending up hosting my show on Amazon S3 servers and getting a friend to create a script that could generate an RSS feed out of it. But that’s a different story.

But then, India wasn’t there in the Podcasting arena then or, else I would have been able to find something for FREE. (that’s sarcasm.. or, call it a joke)

In India, with the FREE hosting, it was easy to get started. And that’s what people did.

Thousands and thousands of Podcasts thronged these FREE hosting platforms and consequently the directories.

But the sad part, a huge chunk of these never had more than 2 episodes.

People could pick up the phone, record something and put it out there and call it a podcast. After all that was their 2 minutes of fame in the world of Radio.

While that may sound nice, there was a downside to it – dirt filled the pod-o-sphere. Now if a good podcast has to be found, you have to filter through the dirt to find it.

Take a step back and look at the other countries that were early adopters of Podcasting.

Paying for something like hosting acted as the first filter (deterrent) and only people who had even the slight bit of seriousness and commitment, would get into podcasting.

And the result – podcasting was serious business. People took to podcasting with an objective and an ROI in mind. They quit if they couldn’t see that the ROI was positive.

That’s something that the “FREE” took away from Podcasting when it launched in India.

But then, on careful evaluation you will realize that this seems to be the strategy that most podcast hosting companies want to adopt. At least that’s what it feels like, from the look of it.

Which brings us back to the question – did we adopt Podcasting the right way?

I would like to know your thoughts.

Just hit reply and let me know what you think.

News You Should Know

In the news this month,

  • Spotify acquired Chartable and Podsights, both podcast analytics platforms. Spotify is known to have analytics which doesn’t quite integrate with any of the other platforms. Consequently, you have had to maintain two distinct analytics data, if your show is also doing well on Spotify. We hope that to change with these new developments.

  • Free is growing. Libsyn now launches a FREE podcast creation, hosting and publishing platform. You can check more about it here.

With the Spotify acquisition of Chartable and Podsights, the podcasting world is all set to see a lot of changes. And also brace yourself for some more acquisitions and mergers, hopefully for the better of the Podcasting industry.

You would like these links

  1. Podcast promotion has often been a problem for many. This article on Buzzsprout has some nice tips on promoting your podcasts.

  2. I am a hardcore believer in creating a listener profile (avatar) for your podcast. There are numerous articles out there that talks about how to do one. But this article sounded much more practical and easy to follow.

Questions from Readers

This is a question I received from Sayan –

What is better and which one should I rely more on – Downloads or, Listens?

This is a question that a lot of us have and with both these measurement methodologies still being followed, the confusion will stay there for some time.

“Downloads” is a measure of the unique file requests made in order to download it. This metric implies that downloading a file essentially means that the user will listen to it.

But then there were apps that had a feature of “automatic downloads”. And in these cases, the file would get downloaded but the user necessarily did not listen to the audio.

It was to get over this issue, that the concept of “Listens” was introduced.

A “Listen” is counted by the number of times the play button is pressed on every directory. Some also say that a “listen” is counted only if the audio is played for 5 seconds. Spotify calculates it at 60 seconds.

So which one is better?

There is no better or, worse in this. While both are almost the same, most established platforms measure downloads even today and so does most providers in the Western countries.

You wouldn’t really have a choice unless your hosting provider gives you access to both metrics.

So go with whatever is available.

Not all dreamers are winners, but all winners are dreamers. Your dream is the key to your future."

-Mark Gorman.

That’s it for now!

See ya again,

Dilip K

PS: – If you are reading this and you have a podcast that you think the world should know about, then drop me a message with the name of the show, why you think that the world should listen to it and what keeps you motivated to run the show, and I will feature it here in the newsletter.

P.P.S:- If you would like to connect with me

About the author 


Dilip is a Podcaster, Blogger, and Affiliate Marketer. He hosts the show, "The Podcasting University" among others and is a content marketing fanatic!

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