Business of Podcasting

Ground set for podcasting boom; India  leads world in IPv6 deployment


Regions where IPv6 is more widely deployed (the darker the green, the greater the deployment)

RelianceJio claims it scores 94% in IPv6 deployment


Just as the world is running out of IP addresses under the current IPv4 version of the internet, thanks to the

burgeoning use of smart devices, RelianceJio,  according to UX and software development engineer Thomas Barrasso  is way ahead of many American big tech companies at 94% IPv6 deployment. This should not surprise us. According to Barrasso, India has the second largest total population at more than 1.35 billion and Jio can’t afford to slag in IPv6 deployment. India, quite interestingly today also leads the world in the overall deployment of IPv6 and stands at 48.97% according to Google. While another site stats.labs.apnic.net claims that  India’s IPv6 compliance is the world's highest at 68.74%.


Reliance Jio has made IPv6-only the default configuration for devices like the JioPhone. In a 2019 presentation, “Leveraging IPv6 for Explosive Growth,” Ramesh Chandra of Reliance Jio writes: 93.7% requests served are on IPv6. He claimed that Jio’s exponential growth enabler is IPv6 (soon to be IPv6-only) and that Jio no longer encourages IPv4 addresses. He argued that by not supporting IPv6, one is disregarding access to some of the largest and fastest-growing Anglophone markets like India. IPv4 according to Barrasso cannot scale to support nations of that size of India. Podcasting now finds a new challenge of this inevitable future-- mainly in the US and Europe where the conversion is taking time.


What is IPv6 ?


Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet. IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to deal with the long-anticipated problem of IPv4 address exhaustion. IPv6 is intended to replace IPv4.  In December 1998, IPv6 became a Draft Standard for the IETF, who subsequently ratified it as an Internet Standard on 14 July 2017. Devices on the Internet are assigned a unique IP address for identification and location definition. With the rapid growth of the Internet after commercialization in the 1990s, it became evident that far more addresses would be needed to connect devices than the IPv4 address space had available


Why are we running out of IPv4 addresses ?


At the genesis of internet architecture--which was initially built on top of an Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4)-- there were less than 4.3 billion IP addresses which were to be allocated. You know that every internet connected device needs an IP address.  But initially there were no smart devices and desktopPCs or an AppleMac were luxuries.. Today, there are almost as many smartphones as there are IPv4 addresses (roughly 3.5 billion smartphones according to Barrasso. A number of measures were undertaken to ration IPv4 addresses, including sharing of addresses across multiple devices within a local network. But since 1990’s, IPv6 has made great strides at becoming a long-term replacement for IPv4, offering nearly 3.4×10³⁸ addresses, according to Barrasso.


Is the podcasting universe prepared for IPv6 ?


Podcasts heavily depends on RSS feeds via podcast hosts for audio files distribution on servers around the world. Here, according to Barrasso, there are two components that need to support IPv6: the client operating system and the podcast host server. Most client operating systems, which includes Apple iOS and Google Android 5.0+, support IPv6--but Android still has IPv6-related limitations in 2020 according to Barrasso. Also apart from client operating systems supporting IPv6; podcast hosts too must join in and support. There are three components to this


*AAAA DNS records

*IPv6-compliant web server

*IPv6 DNS server


This means for podcasters, every redirect also needs to support IPv6. This includes tracking as well as measuring services like Podtrac or Chartable need to support IPv6, in addition to the podcast host. This may have consequences as IPv6-only clients may fail to resolve a DNS entry and ultimately be unable to listen to the podcast.


On the other hand IPv6 support usually coexists with IPv4 support in what is called dual-stack delivery, so it is not a situation of IPv6 or IPv4 bur rather IPv6 and IPv4. Barrrasso claims developers do not have to choose between the two. “For cloud-native hosts, IPv6 support is often as simple as checking a box, and usually comes at no additional cost,” says Barrasso.


Another issue Barrasso points out is that the podcasting culture has largely been focused on US and EU, where IPv6 support today lags behind the developing world including India. So one reason could be lack of business incentive. He says at the moment there is no compelling case for podcast hosts to offer IPv6 support. Worse, since IPv6-only users fail to establish a connection to an IPv4-only host, podcast hosts and podcasters have no visibility into how many listeners they may be missing out on.


Which podcast platforms support IPv6?


There are few podcast hosts, according to Barrasso, which  provide a “public documentation regarding their support, or lack of it , of IPv6 support.” Recently he ran some basic tests on a limited example set among popular hosts:


IPv6 Support

Feedburner, Podbean, Buzzsprout, Acast, Omny, AudioBoom, Patreon, Transistor.fm, Apple, Pinecast, and PodcastOne


No IPv6 Support

Libsyn, SoundCloud, Anchor.fm, Podomatic, BlogTalk, Spreaker, Simplecast, Ivoox, Megaphone, Art19, Feedpress, Blubrry, Podtrac, and Chartable


According to Barrasso these results should not be considered as conclusive, but it may be that some sites do partially support IPv6 only on specific subdomains or within specific paths. He claims that many podcast hosts simply do not offer support for distributing content over IPv6. Some of the largest podcast hosts still do not support IPv6 in 2020, which means many of the most popular podcasts from around the world are only accessible to listeners connecting via IPv4.


GeoIP based podcasting


Localised podcast content can now be based on GeoIP, with special  look-ups that maps IP addresses to approximate physical locations. Podcasts like NPR’s ‘Consider This’ are able to adapt programming by geography. IP Geolocation is still possible on IPv6, but it is a little complicated at the moment according to Barrasso. “Supporting IPv6 would require hosts and analytics services make code modifications to handle GeoIP look-ups for both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses,” says Barrasso in the Medium article.



IPv6 can improve analytics for podcasting


IAB Measurement Guidelines, which measures audience reach for advertisements,  notes that there are potential issues with, “shared locations such as corporate offices, dorms that have a large number of people sharing an external IP Address. The say that with IPv6 compliance , every device will have its own, unique IP address. That means IPv6 can improve analytics accuracy by reducing or eliminating the use of shared IP addresses, as well as improve performance and security for listeners.

In IPv6, addresses could be static since there are many more IPv6 addresses than connecting devices globally. This would mean an IPv6 address is basically a UUID. Due to the security and privacy concerns this raises, IP addresses rotate on a regular basis on most residential and cellular networks. This in turn creates a challenge for accurate analytics. In many settings, session cookies or similar tracking technologies can be used to overcome some of these challenges.


Google Puts Up IPv6 adoption statistics (link)


Google has begun collecting statistics about IPv6 adoption in the Internet on an ongoing basis. They have already provided a link where they publish this information. Google wants this information to be used by Internet providers, website owners, and policy makers as the industry rolls out IPv6.


Why not support IPv6 support?


The only common case we heard about for disabling IPv6 support was internal IP address processing. —

The IAB Measurement Guidelines requires IP addresses be used as part of a solution to identify unique listens, for reasons of data privacy and security, it is better for businesses to convert IPv4 or IPv6 into one-way hashes, both to turn user data anonymous and also standardize formatting which is  IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are formatted differently, but a hashing function like MD5 processes variable-length inputs into fixed-length outputs.



Govind and Srikant Of Curio Audio Raise $9M , Looks For Partnerships In India

Media analyst and podcaster David Bloom recently wrote in Forbes about Curio – a subscription audio service--that raised $9 million in a Series A fundraising round. The company according to thios report claims it will use the funding to power “new and enhanced features while scaling content production and partnerships,” according to the Forbes report.  Curio specializes in content from major news organisations --- Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Wired, The Economist and Financial Times.


The four-year-old audio service was founded in London by former BBC media strategist Govind Balakrishnan and Srikant Chakravarti, a former solicitor.  The report claims that the Curio plans expand into English-speaking markets around the world, including India, Australia, and South Africa, while beefing up its US and UK market positions.  The company also plans more co-productions and co-produced series and guest curation are also planned. It is also furthering its plans of  personalization and program development based on artificial intelligence tools the report claims.


The fund raising round was led by EarlyBird, and includes investments from Draper Esprit, Cherry Ventures and Horizons Ventures, which is backed by the Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing. The company previously raised $2 million from Cherry Ventures and 500 Startups. EarlyBird partner Fabian Heilemann will join Curio’s board.


“We want to help everyone become wiser, empathetic, and fulfilled. I believe learning about ideas and insights shaping our future, and stories that move us can do exactly that," Balakrishnan, who is now Curio’s CEO told the Forbes magazine. "I'd never have imagined when growing up in India and listening to the BBC on shortwave radio, that I'd one day work there, let alone found a startup that is building the future of screenless media and empowering publishers in the process.”


Curio claims that it's subscribers streamed 18 million minutes of audio in 2019 on the app. The big tech companies have are also taking interest in the company -- with Apple showcasing  Curio in one of it's launch event last year on its App Store, and Google naming Curio App of the Year.


Audio services are hot properties for the last one and half years. Spotify acquired a string of podcasting companies, led by a $340 million deal early last year for Gimlet and Anchor and a $100 million exclusive deal with personality Joe Rogan this year. Following Spotify’s invenstments Sony Music amnnounced it will release 40 podcasts this year,  which is part of more than 100 original programs in its pipeline. Recently New York Times Co. NYT acquired Curio's competitor Audm. Edison Research estimates more than 100 million people in the United States listen to a podcast at least monthly, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau says ad sales have grown accordingly, up 48 percent last year to more than $700 million.


A Rising Tide Lifts all Pods in the “Stream”



You hear that? Its boom time for podcasting in India and the country is already surprising many in the global audio industry. Take for instance the surge in Hindi podcasts. On July 20, data analyst Chadd Hallowed, director at ART19 Inc., posted some scrumptious data depicting a geometric rise (of the number of new podcasts appearing each year) in non-English podcasts. The graph, relating to Hindi podcasts , was  eye-popping.


From adding a single new Hindi podcast in January 2006, the number of new Hindi podcasts added in 2015 snail paced to 4, and then suddenly, the figure shot to 768 podcasts by 2019. By January this year, there were 5,582 new Hindi podcasts that were added in a year to the listening directory. “What’s with Hindi podcasts?” Chadd had tweeted.  He also indicated that the growth rate of new non-English podcasts added each year across the globe had gone past English podcasts. While reacting to Chadd’s tweet, Amit Doshi, founder and CEO of IVM podcasts in Mumbai, tweeted, “It’s only going to grow -- what’s interesting is that people listening to local language shows, also speak English in India. But they just prefer to listen in their primary language. Exited for when podcasts starts to reach non-English speakers in India.”



Whats with Hindi podcasts ?
























Chadd also posted other interesting podcast metrics for countries where English is not the primary language. In case of new Arabic pods, there are 748 new podcasts that were added till January 2020. In Europe, French the growth rate of podcasts was from adding 16 new podcasts in 2005 to 5,650 in January this year-- which was less than Hindi. Chadd pointed out that till January 4, there were 2.32 lakh new podcasts added and of these 49.58% were in English language while non-English constituted 50.42%. “Looks like 2020 might finally be the year that non-English podcasts finally start exceeding the English podcast growth rate!,” read Chad’s tweet.


Recently Vidooly, a YouTube video marketing and analytics suite for content creators in India held a webinar and brought on board Doshi, co-founder and CEO of Agrahyah Technologies and aawaz.com Sreeraman Thiagarajan, Head Marketing, Digital & Corporate Communication of Tata Asset Management Limited MVS Murthy and Head of Marketing & Partnerships Mahindra Racing, Alok Chitre, to discuss the untapped potential of the Indian podcasting industry. The conversation led to some interesting statistics. Vidooly, had analysed YT viewing between December 2018 and November 2019-- 22.3 million views, 5 lakh engagements, and 1,900 uploads. “The podcast videos in Hindi dominated the content library. Hindi podcasts gained 55% of the total views, with average views of 18,500. The language also fetched more than 50% engagement,” said Nishant Radia, Co-founder & CMO Vidooly.



New Non-English content inches ahead of new English content in 2020





















Most of this Hindi content comprised of stories and poetries--which helped fetch 50% of the views. Motivational podcasts too pulled a high share of engagement. Among regional languages, Bengali and Tamil and then Malayalam gained significant share of uploads --20% of the overall podcasts. Sreeraman added an interesting twist to the conversation, by saying that in the two months of the lockdown devotional and mythology and horror shared the top 3 slots on aawaz.com platform, and that listenership grew by 22 %.


As for more non-English podcasts, Chadd was fascinated by the boom in Indonesian podcasts. He wrote, “Such a sudden steep rise, that I triple-checked this in a few different ways, but it holds up. It's a similar trend with Portuguese podcasts, but Portuguese started rising years earlier. It's not inherently surprising -- Indonesia and Brazil are huge countries with populations in the 200 million brackets -- but why are both blowing up now? Spanish podcast growth largely tracks Portuguese's growth curve, just shifted up a bit.”





















The potential of podcasting in India


It’s a no brainer. The COVID-19 economy had given rise to a new pastime: streaming entertainment. When you were stuck at home and had finished with work or household chores and had that little extra time for yourself and your family. What else can you do? Movies, music are obvious choices, but for how long. You miss a good dialogue--anything from funny to serious—listening to a podcast. Sometimes when someone’s “talking” about something, it might just be the thing. The podcasting trend has grown significantly, which is clearly seen on LikeFolio’s 90-day average chart, where podcasts have become an attractive entertainment trend since 2016.  But it accelerated significantly in the first half of 2020.


A large portion of the listenership is among younger audiences and digital natives. Podcasts were well-suited for long-form audio content, such as interview formats and talks, digging deeper into certain topics or special interests than radio formats. Felix Richter, a Data Journalist, with Statista, quoted Reuters Institute’s, Digital News Report, which claimed that 36 percent of the survey respondents from across the globe, including India had listened to a podcast in the month preceding the survey, with the level of adoption varying significantly across different markets. Even on regular podcast listing search engines, regional Indian languages have seen a surge in people attempting to create podcasts.  In one podcast search engine listing some 1,264 podcasts appear for search words like Hindi, 721 for Tamil, 483 for Urdu, 206 in Malayalam, 192 for Telugu, 181 for Bengali, 157 in Marathi, 112 in Kannada, 89 in Gujarati and some 20 odd in Assamese.  It’s still in the nascent stages. But podcasts have a huge monetisation potential.


Worldwide, however, sometime in the early part of 2020, Forbes analysed the earning power of podcasts. A podcast called The Joe Rogan Experience is estimated to have earned the host and owner USD 30 million in 2019. With high-profile guests such as Elon Musk (who famously smoked marijuana during his appearance) on the Rogan show, as well as US presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, Rogan's pulling power is currently unmatched. On YouTube alone, the two above mentioned shows have so far been watched a collective 40 million times. With an impressive but still distant second place, the true-crime podcast My Favorite Murder generated $15 million last year for its two hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.


The Spotify effect


Two of the biggest players in the podcasting industry, hands down, are Spotify (SPOT) and Apple (AAPL). AAPL is the bigger in terms of market capitalization (35 times over), but not in market share necessarily, as SPOT now aims to own it and, according to a CNBC report, “continued to solidify its commercial lead in streaming over Apple” and others.

To get a clearer picture of both companies’ podcasting demand, take a look at LikeFolio data on podcast mentions, this time illustrating the two companies earbud to earbud (figure 2). What we do know from LikeFolio data is that consumers have been gravitating toward podcasting in general, with Spotify edging out Apple as the platform of choice. The 90-day moving average of Spotify’s podcast mentions rose by 67% year-over-year, whereas Apple’s rose by 45%. In the podcasting space, Spotify appears to be in the lead, but of course, there’s more to an investment opportunity than this single metric. Podcasting is a global phenomenon. Can Spotify scale to seize global market share, even expanding toward larger-scale services beyond music and podcasts?



JioSaavn’s Artist Originals partners with SyncFloor to bring South Asian sounds to the sync licensing marketplace

Press Release


SyncFloor, the leading marketplace for ready-to-sync music, is announcing its partnership with Artist Originals (AO), the in-house label and artist services division of JioSaavn, South Asia’s largest music and audio streaming service. AO has a unique catalogue of contemporary music, across genres by independent Indian artists.

AO tracks are now searchable and license-ready to creators using SyncFloor to find music for their projects, whether on SyncFloor’s general marketplace (syncfloor.com), its podcast-only marketplace (songsforpodcasters.com) or the dedicated SyncSite that SyncFloor has created for Artists Originals’ content. This is SyncFloor’s first partnership with an Indian company, allowing SyncFloor to further diversify its music index.


“India has one of the most dynamic and exciting music scenes in the world, and there is a wealth of artists and songs to discover,” explains SyncFloor co-founder and CEO, Kirt Debique. “Artist Originals has a great selection of trendsetting tracks that reflect this energy and contribute vitally to the music available in our marketplaces. We’re glad we can help more production professionals explore these tracks and find the perfect song to fit their creative.”


Home to more than 40 artists, Artist Originals features independent South Asian voices from across the world including India’s rich and fast-growing music scene. Taking ideas from global pop trends but giving them their own spin and flair, artists like EDM duo Lost Stories and pop singer Abhijeet Srivastava (pictured above) have intriguing tracks that could fit a range of briefs. Additionally, multi-talented female artists, such as singer-songwriter Chhavi Sodhani and trilingual rapper SIRI are creating projects with AO that redefine the way we look at genres. The catalog brims with music across genres in Hindi, Punjabi, Kannada, and English (or a characteristically cosmopolitan mix).


“Since our launch in 2017, Artist Originals has grown tremendously, empowering a number of South Asian artists and bringing their music to a global audience,” says Hiba Irshad, Director of A&R at JioSaavn and Artist Originals. “Our partnership with SyncFloor enables us to scale our ability to sync their music into major media properties. This visibility also creates additional avenues for emerging artists to scale and be discovered.”


About SyncFloor


SyncFloor is a revolutionary new marketplace designed to unleash the full potential of music in commerce. Whether you’re a music supervisor on a dramatic film, a music researcher at an advertising agency, an editor on a documentary, or a producer on a TV series, SyncFloor is your one-stop-shop for music from brands you already know and trust. We aggregate existing labels, publishers, distributors, sync agents, and artist catalogs into a single store with beautiful and innovative music discovery combined with a modern workflow and collaboration experience. And of course, when you’re ready, hassle free clearance. Search for music the way you want to and clear it when you need it.

About Artist Originals (AO)

Established in 2017, Artist Originals (AO) is the in-house record label and artist development program of JioSaavn, South Asia’s largest music streaming service. The mission of AO is to provide a dedicated platform to independent artists, amplifying their careers and introducing global music lovers to new sounds and multi-cultural artistry. Services include investment, production, publishing, distribution and promotion, and artists gain unprecedented industry access alongside introductions to top talent managers, booking agents, and publicists.

AO artists have consistently landed at the top of the charts and many have gone on to experience global success. “Bom Diggy” by Zack Knight and Jasmin Walia was #1 on iTunes India for approximately 3 months and has been streamed almost 100 million times. AO’s global collaborations include Marshmello and Pritam’s “BIBA”; hip-hop star Naezy’s “NY Se Mumbai” with Nas; as well as a viral EDM remix of “Bom Diggy” by Dillon Francis.


About JioSaavn


Founded in 2007 as Saavn, JioSaavn is an audio streaming service for South Asian music and artists. In March 2018, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) acquired a majority stake in JioSaavn, making it the largest music streaming service in India with millions of monthly active users.


The company has 900+ label partnerships and growing, including Universal, Sony, T-Series, Tips, YRF, Saregama, and Warner Music. In addition to 55 million+ tracks in 16 languages, JioSaavn -- honored by Fast Company as one of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies -- also offers a slate of original, non-music audio programs ranging from Bollywood to comedy, storytelling to cricket. JioSaavn’s team of 300+ works across offices in Mumbai, Gurugram, Bengaluru, New York, and California.


Podcast listener share goes up in US


Podcast listening has gained ground and now making inroads into the listening habits of Americans during Covid quarantine period. Against 2014 when 1 hour of podcast listening was equivalent to roughly 25 hours of AM-FM radio listening, by 2020 August, the ratio changed to 1 hour of podcast listening to 8 hours of AM-FM radio listening.  The latest Edison research showed that podcast listeners now form 5% of the total listener share against 2% in 2014. There has been a gradual slump in the overall radio listening habits in US.  Senior VP of Edison Research Tom Webster presented a short 15-minute lunchtime webinar at 1:00 EDT on Thursday. The name of the webinar was Listening Habits During Quarantine: A Share of Ear Report.  Webster gave an update on the overall podcast listener landscape, drawing from insights gained from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study. Specific focus was placed on how to podcast listening has been affected by quarantine.


Latest advertisment trends seen across podcasts: Magellan AI report

Predictive analytic platform Magellan AI recently captured advertsing trends on top 400 podcasts in the US. Each week's sample included up to two episodes from shows publishing new episodes. Podcasts advertsing on other podcasts were excluded from this analysis. The powerful analytics software determined the campaign--which included direct  response , brand awareness, or tuune-in-- at the brand or product level based on whether ads for that brand or product included a promotional code or unique vanity URL. categories used in the analysis reflect the most primary category avaliable for each podcast in apple podcasts. Advertsing positions were tagged as follows,.