In recent years, podcasting has gained immense popularity as a digital medium for storytelling, information sharing, and entertainment worldwide. However, while podcasting has experienced significant growth in many countries, including the United States and Europe, it has not reached its full potential in India. Despite having a vast audience and a thriving media industry, podcasting in India has faced several challenges that have hindered its growth.
One of the primary obstacles is the limited awareness and adoption among the general population. Compared to other forms of media such as television, cinema, and radio, podcasts are relatively new and unfamiliar to many Indians. Although smartphone penetration and internet accessibility have surged in recent years, the majority of the population remains unaware of the concept and benefits of podcasting.
“The Indian podcast industry is still in its early stages, and there is a lack of data on listener behavior and preferences, making it difficult for podcasters to cater to their audience effectively.” Shares Partho Dasgupta , Ex-CEO of BARC India and Presently Managing Partner, Thoth Advisors. As the market expands, there is a growing concern about potential saturation. With more players entering the industry, it becomes increasingly challenging for newcomers to gain visibility and establish a fan base.
India is a linguistically diverse country, with over 1,600 languages spoken across its vast expanse. While podcasting in English has gained some traction, the potential for regional language podcasts remains largely untapped. “Given the cultural and linguistic diversity, there is a significant opportunity to create podcasts that cater to specific regions and local interests, fostering a more inclusive podcasting landscape”, shares Partho Dasgupta.
Despite significant improvements in internet connectivity, India still faces infrastructure challenges, particularly in rural areas. Access to high-speed internet is essential for streaming and downloading podcasts, and until this infrastructure is more widely available, podcasting will continue to face limitations in reaching a larger audience. However, with the increasing affordability of smartphones and the government’s Digital India initiative, the situation is gradually improving.
Podcast monetization is another major challenge in India. Unlike traditional media platforms such as television and radio, which have established advertising and revenue models, podcasts are still navigating this landscape. Partho Dasgupta says, “While some creators have found success through sponsorships and brand collaborations, the industry lacks a comprehensive and standardized monetization framework. The absence of a robust revenue model acts as a deterrent for creators and hampers the growth of the medium.”
Despite the challenges, the future of podcasting in India holds promise. The growing smartphone penetration, increasing internet connectivity, and a young, tech-savvy population create a fertile ground for podcasting to flourish.
“The Indian podcast industry is witnessing the emergence of independent podcasters alongside established platforms like Spotify, Gaana, and JioSaavn. These creators are producing diverse and engaging content across genres, attracting listeners seeking fresh and authentic experiences”, shares Partho Dasgupta. The fact that India stands in the third position in the race for podcast consumption in the world shows that we are not doing too badly!
However, to attract a wider audience, podcasts must offer high-quality content and production value. While India has a rich heritage of storytelling and narrative traditions, the podcasting space is still dominated by amateur creators. Some podcasts lack the necessary production value, sound quality, and structured storytelling that engage listeners. Investing in professional production and enhancing content quality will help in elevating the Indian podcasting industry to international standards.