Those experienced and familiar with the audio industry, however, don’t bat an eye. We know audio has been home for some of the greatest storytelling of our time and believe great stories, authentic conversations, and in the end, unbeatable content is why the powerhouse that is audio, simply isn’t going anywhere. However, those entering should know the stakes are higher than ever before. At least that’s what we heard from the all angles of the podcast ecosystem, as industry experts weigh in on the topic.

Not the Red-Headed Step Child Anymore

“The industry is growing up and evolving. Consolidation only happens when the stakes are high,” says David Raphael from PMM.Publicly held companies, the likes of which are investing in podcasting, have a duty to deliver results to their shareholders, so they are bullish on Podcasting – as they should be. The industry is delivering the best content to consumers and sponsors, generating more revenue each year, so it automatically sounds To back up the point, per the IAB Podcast Playbook, research conducted by Midroll published in 2017 revealed that, “67 percent of respondents could name an actual product feature or specific common promotion mentioned in a podcast ad, and 61 percent of listeners indicated that they purchased a product or service they learned about from a podcast ad”.

Those breaking into the podcasting space are time and time again requesting more information on podcasting primarily, rather than traditional radio, says Gina Garrubbo, President and CEO of NPR. “The space is really as robust as ever and we’re finding ourselves in a constant sold out position relative to podcast inventory. Plus, we’re seeing some of the biggest names and brands in the advertising space overall – from Progressive and BMW, to Goldman Sachs, State Farm and Capitol One. Brands are taking notice.”

Major brands are looking for even more ways to control ads, messaging and distribution of their content, especially if it’s timely. Podcast advertising offers authentic, quality and controlled marketing to very specific and engaged audiences. Plus, ad dollars spent on podcast ads offer better regional and market by market control over ad distribution, says Marshall Williams, Founder and CEO of Ad Results Media.

Quality Content Rules Everything Around Us

The need for quality content has truly never been greater. As a meaningful number of new listeners continue to discover podcasts it’s important that the industry’s publishers stay creative in their approach to produce and monetize new shows.

According to Hernan Lopez, the Founder & CEO of Wondery, “Media companies get out of lines of business all the time – not every media company needs to be in every kind of media.” Lopez knows the success of this industry lies in the power of unique and captivating storytelling. From his experience with hit podcast shows like ‘Dr. Death’ and ‘Dirty John’ or ‘Business Wars’ – finding an interesting story, told in a way that will resonate with listeners is what draws listeners in, and therefore advertisers and marketing muscle.

“Of course, this industry isn’t easy – and neither are TV, movie or even book publishing businesses. You can’t always determine success up, front, but the that podcast listeners are growing in number, that their time per person with the medium is increasing and therefore, so are advertising dollars.” Per the Infinite Dial report, published by Edison Research and Triton Digital, monthly podcast listenership was up 8% year-over-year to an estimated 73M people nationally. Consistent weekly listening is also up 13% to 48M nationally.

There’s Room for Creative Monetization

From a buy side perspective, the demand from advertisers is incredibly strong due to how well the channel performs from a conversion rate perspective so the insatiable desire for more quality ad units is still growing. Why do we know, just take a look at ZipRecruiter’s presenting sponsorship deal with Serial Season 3 and Podcast Media Marketing (PMM).

So, where do we go from here…

So, if industry titans say we’re not in a podcast bubble? Where are we and where do we go from here? While quality content is driving demand, Marshall Williams believes there are a few other components that could add even more fuel to the fire. “Bigger players must enter the space. If we bring Oprah, Obama, Tiger or even a Kardashian into the mix, podcasting will become the new CNN and a truly can’t-live-without medium. We’ve already seen this with the recent Joe Rogan and Elan Musk interview – high profiles drive quality content.”

He also believes technology will play a major factor in how accessible this high-quality content is. We need a better podcast search tool. If podcasting is now something everyone can access and it’s easy to utilize, there’s even less boundaries to education and opportunity. Technology will aid discovery for the millions of people that aren’t even avid podcast