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Podcasts find their voice during COVID-19 pandemic

Indians, stuck at home due to the lockdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, are turning to podcasts to keep themselves entertained as they go about their daily chores, giving a boost to the fledgling industry.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2020, 12.42 PM IST
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BENGALURU: Arpita Mehta’s daily commute in Mumbai usually involved listening to podcasts on current affairs for about 15-20 minutes.

Now, the chartered accountant is relying on podcasts related to history and economics to get through the day, working from home.

Mehta is listening to three times more podcasts ever since her workplace made social distancing mandatory.

Indians, stuck at home due to the lockdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, are turning to podcasts to keep themselves entertained as they go about their daily chores, giving a boost to the fledgling industry.

Downloads on podcast platforms including Aawaaz.com, IVM, Audioboom, Hubhopper, and Ep.Log have jumped 8-30% over the last two weeks.

“We have seen an 18-22% increase in listenership over the last ten days. Usually, we have increased listenership during morning and evening, but now we get people through the day,” said Sreeraman Thiagarajan, co-founder of Aawaz.com.

“Content related to humour, stories, and devotion are quite popular on our platform, but now news updates on Covid-19 are also popular,” he said.

Indus Vox Media (IVM) has seen an 8% jump in consumption, if one does a week to week comparison, said cofounder Amit Doshi. “We are seeing consumption of more light-hearted content and content around Covid-19,” he said.

According to Gautam Raj Anand, CEO of Hubhopper, there has been a change in podcast consumption patterns.

“Usually, we used to see a peak during commuting hours and at the end of the day. Now, we have seen a 30-40% increase in the number of podcasts consumed in the evening. People are now listening to less self-growth podcasts and more comedy and storytelling ones,” Anand said.

Companies are looking to keep their listeners entertained and informed through the lockdown and crisis.

“In the last two weeks, we have amplified efforts. We created playlists on healthcare, mental health, entrepreneurship, and indoor fitness training. Consumption has increased drastically for shows on mental health and fitness,” said Rohan Thakar, founder at Ep.Log Media.

There has been a jump of 25-30% in Ep.Log’s podcast listenership in the last 10 days, he added.

The industry is also seeing creators line up to make own content. Hubhopper saw a 40% increase in the number of sign-ups by people intending to create own podcasts.
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