Podcast platforms

Will local podcast platforms be the winners in Asia-Pacific?

Podcasting has grown into a giant industry, surpassing $ 10 billion in 2020 and is expected to double, at a minimum, over the next 24 to 36 months. The Drum explores how Taiwan-based SoundOn is riding this wave.

Over 15 years after the term first appeared, podcasts have exploded in growth. In an era where content creators produce high production value videos, there are several reasons why this format is increasingly popular.

In Taiwan, the podcast ecosystem has grown exponentially over the past year. For example, SoundOn, a podcast platform that produces its own content shows featuring top Taiwan influencers and connects podcasters to advertisers, claims to have racked up 80 million downloads in just under two years since its existence. and has increased tenfold in the past six months.

Compared to more mature podcast industries like the United States, Taiwan essentially has five-year rapid growth and condensed it into one, says Likai Gu, the founder of SoundOn.

“Podcasts have a low barrier to entry, which means there is a podcast that could meet every niche or special interest imaginable and serve passionate communities. SoundOn’s platform has also seen growth among creators who have entered the podcast space, ”he explains.

“The podcast industry has grown since SoundOn entered the market at the end of 2019. The number of podcasts produced for Taiwanese audiences has grown from less than 50 when SoundOn was founded to over 10,000, and its own SoundOn traffic has increased 20-fold in the past. year, reaching nearly 35 million unique downloads per month.

He continues, “It seems like there are similar trends in the rest of Asia as well – driven by the quality of creators and podcasters entering the market. Audio is making a comeback, and creators are realizing that they have the potential to carve out a new audience and create different types of content using audio.

Gu claims that SoundOn has the most comprehensive data set on the podcast ecosystem in Taiwan, and thus leverages that data to connect advertisers to podcasters. He says SoundOn’s original content shows featuring some of Taiwan’s top influencers have been “extremely popular” with Taiwanese audiences, with a few mainstays in the top podcast rankings on the market.

Advertisers prefer to work with SoundOn because of SoundOn’s ability to quickly analyze and filter thousands of podcasts by volume, gender breakdown and demographics, he adds.

“Instead of having to go through hundreds of podcasts, advertisers can get all-in-one pricing, stats and recommendations from SoundOn. We also expect SoundOn to experience exponential growth in revenue and profitability over the next 24 months, ”says Gu.

“Soon, other business models may be adopted, such as subscriptions, donations, merchandising, as SoundOn continues to develop its application on other audio-related media, such as live content, books. audio and others.

For example, advertisers like Giveme5min, which specializes in single-serve specialty coffee bags to provide fresh ground coffee according to its customers’ preferences, have promoted its single-serve coffee bags via “百靈 æžœNews podcast on SoundOn to their audience and claimed to have received over 100% ROI in one month for this campaign.

“SoundOn helped us by figuring out which podcaster we would work best with. As a result, the result of the campaign’s performance is beyond our expectations. We will certainly continue to advertise on podcast platforms, ”said Benjamin Tseng, CEO of Giveme5min.

SoundOn, which runs its own podcast player app and website, currently has over 70% of the market share and is expected to reach 500 million downloads in one month. This rate of growth is in line with the growth of YouTube during its initial popularity in Taiwan.

SoundOn’s future plans don’t focus on podcasts alone, but other forms of audio entertainment as well, as it seeks to become a one-stop-shop. Its ambitions were further strengthened by its acquisition by Kollective Ventures (KV), a Singapore-based capital and investment advisory firm, and Turn Capital, the family office of Joseph Phua, co-founder and non-executive chairman of 17LIVE. Inc.

The acquisition means that SoundOn has the ability to collaborate with other social entertainment applications under the umbrella of 17LIVE Inc. For example, there is an application called Goodnight which provides live entertainment and audio dating services, which , according to Gu, exhibits similar synergies with SoundOn and is actively exploring their merger.

The platform also recently launched SoundClub, which is its live content vertical as it has noticed that users need to listen to non-music audio content at different times of the day while exercising, on the go, and before. bedtime).

Gu thinks the podcast winners in Asia will undoubtedly be local because, unlike video, the audio is less versatile due to the lack of subtitles. He says this means that a language’s dominance in the region will influence its popularity and force SoundOn to work with various local partners with speed and execution in Asia, which is an advantage over the world’s biggest players.

“Taking the more mature industries of the United States and France as an example, the podcast scene is dominated by local producers, albeit for very different reasons. In the United States, only 13 of the top 200 shows (7%) are non-national, half of which are British. Strong national competition makes it extremely difficult to enter this American market, ”he explains.

“In France, nearly nine out of ten podcasts (87%) were produced locally, language clearly being a factor. In fact, the popularity of US podcasts is predicted to decline over time as the domestic podcast scenes strengthen. “

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