The Wall Street Journal today published an interesting article on the growing popularity of live events that feature the hosts of podcasts (and even live recordings of those podcasts.) Public broadcasters have been engaging in this strategy for years (the live tapings of shows like “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” for example) but now commercial podcasters are also getting into the act.
This development is intriguing, and important to the space for a number of reasons. First of all, events are yet another way to monetize podcasting. The more revenue streams the medium generates, from direct response and brand advertising to listener-supported models and branded podcasts, the healthier the industry will be.
But there is another way in which these events are not only important, but maybe even critical to the health of podcasting. Podcasting, to date, has been a solitary experience—an intimate connection between the earbuds. But there is no reason why it can’t be a shared experience, especially with the rise of Smart Speakers like Google Home and the Amazon Alexa suite of products encouraging a new wave of “social audio.” Plus, it provides an even deeper level of engagement between host and audience, which in turn might spread what podcasting really needs: ambassadors. For more on our Smart Speaker research, visit http://NPR.org/smartaudio, and to learn more about the latest in Podcasting, register for The Podcast Consumer 2018, coming April 19th.