We spent the last week understanding the state of podcasting with 3,000 podcasters, producers, agencies, editors, networks, vendors and more from around the world in Orlando made for four days full of workshops, panels, keynotes, parties, trade shows and more.

Read on for a few of our favorite key quotes, video highlights and insights from across the panel discussions.

Establishing Connections to Reach the ‘Unreachables’

On our panel discussion on “Reaching the Unreachables” Lisa discussed a 30 percent decrease in TV viewership among Millennials and Gen Z over the last six years, while on the reverse, this “audio generation” is now consuming 18+ hours of audio per week and 2.6 hours or more per day. Why? According to Molly Fuard (Ad Innovation Lead of Podcasts at Pandora) audio reaches a screen-less world on the go. Thanks to technology, on-demand content and streaming devices have put consumers in the driver’s seat to choose content how they want, when they want, and exactly what they want. David Raphael (CEO and President of Public Media Marketing) calls consumers their own 'content producers’ making it more crucial than ever to meet these listeners where they are and find the right marketing and advertising messages to grab their attention. We hear advertisers obsess over reaching “cord cutters,” but in reality, we’re starting to reach “cord nevers” – meaning they’ve never purchased a cable box and probably never will own one. These generations are multitaskers and looking at a million messages a day, so we must supply content that gives them a sense of missing out.

The Speed of The Medium is Undeniable

Dierdre Lester (Chief Revenue Officer at Barstool Sports) spoke with Marshall on a panel discussing the importance of “stackable income” when it comes to podcast shows and their platforms. Dierdre spoke to the “remarkable speed” of the medium referencing Barstool Sports’ latest show “Call Her Daddy” which launched last year and has quickly reached Barstool’s #1 downloaded show today with the fastest growing line of merchandise for the media company. With a male dominated audience, Barstool has now reached an entirely new audience of young women that are eager for content, social media updates, live events, merchandise, etc. therefore host read ads and product extensions are driving revenue and sales and truly optimizing the show’s diverse revenue streams.

Audio is connective tissue

Marshall said it best, stating “The relationship between a podcast host and their listener is 'connective tissue' and that’s the sole driver of this space.” These hosts and their listeners are more closely connected than any other media medium. One of the big themes we’re seeing is the value behind a live read, host endorsement ad experience. This bond between a host and their listener is truly incomparable, creating a real bond. Barstool boasts a 100 percent endorsement read ad strategy across their shows and have seen the direct results from that connection. When it comes to celebrities, David from PMM argues we’re quickly learning that while celebrities have extensive reach, power and influence, they’re only as successful as how vulnerable and passionate they are about their podcast. There’s a level of trust in podcasting between these hosts that’s more authentic than any medium. Listeners know that if Joe Rogan endorses something, he has tested it himself, truly loves the product and know his listeners will advocate for the brand as well. Take his MeUndies ads for example. Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard is another great example. Dax actually drives a Chrysler Pacifica and brought a few along for his Midwest live show tour. This experimental branding opens an entirely new level of brand experience if brands are willing to take risks and align with a personality. We know listening to consumer behaviors to deliver on this ads is key for making the most effective messages.

Storytelling Is Key to Success

If there’s one thing we learned about the state of podcasting, it’s that content is king. It’s clear that quality, captivating content is expanding the industry and more and more growth only comes from more and more content produced. You really can find content concerning almost every single topic, especially content the target podcast demographics are interested in. David argues that content is being specially created for these emerging generations and the life stage they're in, like parenting tips, business success stories, and self-help shows due to these major life moments listeners are experiencing. And don’t worry brands are right alongside for all these moments.