A daily news podcast – a brief, on-demand audio bulletin that provides a full rundown of the latest events and developments in a particular sector or field of interest – can be an invaluable tool for attracting and maintaining a large audience, building loyalty, and driving subscription revenue. This is particularly true during periods of high stress, as we have seen during the coronavirus pandemic, when it provided many listeners with a lifeline to the latest information.
Podcasts are also a good way to reach younger audiences, which can be hard to reach through other channels such as radio. Many publishers have used daily news podcasts to target this group during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems to have paid off, with podcast advertising revenues often holding up better than other media formats.
While the share getting news from any traditional source on a given day has been falling in recent years — reflecting steep declines in newspaper and radio circulation — the vast majority of Americans still report seeing, reading or hearing some kind of news. The web has largely offset these declines, with an increasing number of people getting their news on smartphones and tablets, and even more using streaming services like Netflix and Amazon to access a wide variety of programming, including news.
There is no one-size-fits-all for a daily news podcast, with the format varying from long, extended chats such as The Daily’s New York Times-inspired deep-dives to concise news round-ups and microbulletins designed to be consumed on smart speakers and other digital platforms. However, in this fast-moving space there are clear signs that the best performers will be those able to quickly identify and meet audience needs.
Among the public broadcasters interviewed for this report, Le Monde has confirmed plans to launch a daily news podcast early next year, following positive audience reaction to Pandemie – the series it produced during the lockdown that covered COVID-19 issues twice each week until June. However, the market for these premium products remains nascent in Europe and other parts of the world. Nevertheless, our research shows that many European publishers have been launching their own daily news podcasts in recent months, with the Guardian (UK) and the FT News Briefing leading the way. Many other international publishers are likely to follow suit in the coming years, as these podcasts become increasingly mainstream. Moreover, our analysis suggests that these flagship offerings are likely to be key components of wider audio strategies aimed at building audience engagement and brand loyalty for the news organisation. This is because they offer an opportunity to capture a core audience that is currently consuming news through third-party apps and platforms, which are notoriously difficult for publishers to reach directly. As a result, they will be key to delivering scale to a nascent industry in which the big players have a distinct advantage.