Music streaming service Spotify will go live on December 3 with first three original podcasts for India with an aim to strengthen its localisation strategy in the country.
Spotify will launch shows like cricket-centric 22 Yarns with Gaurav Kapur, fiction thriller Bhaskar Bose narrated by Mantra, and love and relationship advice-based Love Aaj Kal by Aastha and Ankit.
But is podcast gaining traction in India?
"Podcasts are garnering steady popularity among the urban audio streamers in India, with lifestyle-related content being streamed in high demand. Within lifestyle, self-motivation content is doing particularly well. Our podcast chart in India shows that 60 percent of the top 10 podcasts on Spotify are on self-motivation. In fact, India features in the all-time top three streaming markets for On Purpose with Jay Shetty, a show that’s been at the top of Spotify’s India podcast chart ever since we launched. Tech show, Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast, is also extremely popular among our podcast listeners in the country," said Amarjit Singh Batra, MD, Spotify India.
He further said that India also features in the top 10 countries that stream globally popular podcasts such as TED Talks Daily, and The Mindset Mentor and they are bullish about the Indian market.
A 2019 PwC report also says that consumption of podcasts has increased significantly in India over the past few years.
By end-2018, monthly listeners for podcasts increased to four crore from 2.5 crore in 2017, a 57.6 percent rise. It is this listener base that has made India the world's third-largest podcast-listening market (after China and US).
The report estimates growth in the podcast industry to continue with listener numbers increasing at a 34.5 percent CAGR to 17.61 crore by 2023.
It is this growth that is making other audio streaming services like Gaana, Hungama bet on podcasts. Along with these platforms, IVM and Aawaz also offer wide range of podcasts.
For Spotify, while the US accounts for the largest share of podcast streams, a majority of growth is now coming from outside the US too.
"Even though podcasting is still at a nascent stage in India, we see great potential here. Given India’s position as a knowledge economy, increasing commute time, and desire to spend more time off screens, there is immense scope for podcasts to become mainstream,” said Singh.
He added that India also gives opportunity to create podcasts in different languages.
There are about 140,000 registered creators across the world on Spotify, and the data for a few of these creators shows that India features in their top streamed markets.
Hence, Spotify is investing in India to create the market for podcasts in the country as the platform has done in other parts of the world.
For Spotify, podcasts are important
As podcasts are gaining steady popularity, the category is becoming more important for Spotify as well.
"We have expanded from music to podcasts now, and this is reflected in our recent Q3 2019 results highlighting a 39 percent increase in podcast hours streaming globally with podcast adoption reaching almost 14 percent of total monthly active users (MAUs). We also think that over time, 20 percent of all Spotify listening will be non-music content," he said.
Whether or not we can expect more India original podcasts, Singh said that they are already in conversation with more creators in India.
"So, you can expect a variety of content launching on Spotify in the coming year. We are also open to working with new creators on genres ranging across lifestyle, news, fiction, non-fiction, and more," he added.