Podcasts have become increasingly popular in recent years. There’s a podcast that we all listen to, whether it’s a weekly recap of what’s going on in the world of sports, a discussion about our favorite movie or a commentary on current political events.
Laura Fernandez, Vice President of Industry for Travel, Tourism and Gambling, SXM Media, is an expert in the world of podcasts and a person who has witnessed the growth of this vertical.
SXM Media is the combined advertising revenue for consumer-facing brand names that many Americans love, Fernandez told SBC Americas.
These brands include Sirius XM and Pandora. Stitcher Studios, which produces over 250 original shows, has exclusive advertising and monetization partnerships with NBC Universal, SoundCloud, and audiochuck.
I know that we are here to discuss podcasts. We have award-winning, well-loved shows at SXM Media like Office Ladies, Conan O’Brien needs a friend, Hidden Brain, and Freakonomics.”
Fernandez has highlighted the fact that podcasts have experienced a boom in recent times. This trend is particularly apparent in the post COVID era. It’s not surprising that there are over two million podcasts to choose from.
Podcasts are a huge hit. It is a medium which offers something unique that can’t be found anywhere else, like captivating stories and hosts with whom people connect. “They also provide guilt-free entertainment,” Fernandez added.
There are so many podcasts now. Over half of Americans have listened at least to one podcast during their lifetime. It’s easy to listen to podcasts from anywhere. You can listen to podcasts anywhere, whether you’re in your car, using your mobile, going for a walk or cleaning your house. “Podcasts reach consumers on the move.”
Fernandez highlighted this ‘on-the-go’ entertainment as a major driver of growth in audio entertainment.
Podcasts allow consumers to multitask while driving, walking, or working.
Fernandez added: “Visuals channels demand your full attention, and they record what you consume visually. This can lead to people feeling guilty about how much time they spend watching one show.
Podcasts are different. There is no topic that’s too niche or specific. No podcast is “too geeky”. Listeners can dive deep into their interests without worrying about someone asking ‘why are you watching this so long?
With visual entertainment, it’s impossible to escape. Audio and podcasts allow you to connect with hosts and participants in your daily routine. They’re basically taking you along on their journey.”
Fernandez says that podcasts are becoming increasingly popular on a global scale. However, the growth in downloads and listeners is particularly noticeable amongst multicultural communities.
Edison Research conducted surveys that found a 44% growth in Latino podcast listeners and a 53% rise in Black podcast listeners from year to year. This growth combined with podcasts’ ability to tell a specific narrative can reinforce a sense of community, as Fernandez has explained.
She said: “Fans are such loyal supporters of their favourite shows. They buy merchandise, they purchase tickets for live podcasts.
“For Two Bears One Cave one of our most popular shows, we had more than 1,000 people waiting outside the door at 6AM. The podcast did not start recording until noon! This shows that there are many fans who interact both on social media and in person.
It’s also a much more intimate medium, because it delivers one-to-one interaction. You feel like you’re part of the conversation, and can go a bit deeper than influencer marketing.
SXM Media is already well known for its podcasts. The brand has expanded its footprint through an exclusive monetization agreement with NBC, a well-known brand both in the US and abroad.
The content covers NBC News and Sports channels. It includes podcasts, showcasts and “top shows” like Date Line.
“NBC asked SXM Media to be its exclusive monetization partners, which means we are the only partner who can sell ads within their programming. They came to SXM Media because of our incredible sales team and some very deep brand relationships.
NBC is one the most recognizable brands in the entertainment business. This is also the most trusted entertainment network in the United States, so brands can connect with their audience wherever they may be.
What does podcasting mean for the gaming industry? SXM Media’s Pandora and SoundCloud have long-standing relationships with casinos, social gaming and sports betting companies, Fernandez said to SBC Americas. The rollout of gambling legislation helped expand the company’s horizons.
SXM Media uses geo-targeting to ensure localization of its content. She said that not only does this have an impact on content, but also demographics targeted.
“For gambling brands, we have a strategy of geo-targeting that we apply across all our streaming platforms, including Pandora, Sirius XM Podcast Network, and SoundCloud. This allows us to target listeners based on their age, gender, and location. We can then ensure that they are legal gambling age and live in a legalized state. We can also add interest-based targeting, such as gambling or sports fans who gamble online.
“When we think about podcasts, we have seen the evolution of the ability to connect with bettors on a national level. Podcast hosts may read advertisements as part of the national strategy for sportsbooks.
FanDuel, for example, has ads read by the hosts of Two Bears One Cave (a podcast dominated by men) and Bert Kreischer’s Two Bears One Cave.
The combination of being able geotarget in areas where gambling is legal, as well as being able connect with consumers on a large scale, using a context-based medium such as podcasts can help betting brands achieve their KPIs, such as increasing the number of FTDs.
Aaron Dugan VP of Acquisition Strategy & Planning for FanDuel told SBC Americas that this approach to working with audio-based platforms such as podcasts worked especially well for FanDuel. It is even more true when the hosts are charismatic, as with two of SXM Media’s most popular podcasts.
He said: “Podcasts worked well for us. Our brand has seen strong conversions by connecting with a highly-engaged audience that listens to podcasts of shows such as Conan O’Brien’s Needs a Friend, and 2 Bears 1 Cave With Tom Segura & Bert Kreischer. “We truly value our partnership with SXM Media.”
Fernandez says that the past few years have revealed that podcasts featuring athletes or game analysis are the most popular.
Sports fans are not satisfied with just watching games. They want more. Podcasts are what they want to listen to because they’re not satisfied just watching the games. Podcasts are most popular among men aged 25-54.
“Podcasts, by far, are the most accessible entertainment form for this age range, so they give fans the opportunity to listen to games as a compliment to what they have watched. Listen to the players discuss what they value most and their career highlights. This allows sports fans to feel more connected with athletes than they would be able to through other media. It’s more authentic; there is much greater access to athletes.
It’s not just sports fans who are enjoying this trend, but athletes too. They’re increasingly using podcasts to tell their own stories. This gives listeners a “non-filtered, authentic” view of their favorite athletes in a format they can access from any device.
Fernandez stated: “Our podcast I Am Athlete is a discussion between Brandon Marshall, and former NFL legends. It takes place every week.” This is a great way to connect sports fans with their favorite athletes.
SXM Media reaches more than 150 million monthly listeners across music, podcasts, and Sirius XM Satellite. Advertising on digital audio or podcasts is a great way to reach consumers without interrupting their daily lives. SXM Media allows you to reach your audience at any time and anywhere.
“Audio and podcasts are not only popular, but also have a large audience. People spend a lot of their time on these channels.” This is a fantastic medium for brands to reach out to consumers.
The conversation soon turned to the future of podcasts, and how they would fit into the marketing strategies of gambling companies. Fernandez believes that we have only just begun to see the rise of podcasts.
She believes that this will continue to grow exponentially, as more people are turning their attention to digital forms of entertainment, and to a more personal experience.
She concluded, “Digital audio is growing exponentially as AM/FM radio continues to decline.” All signs indicate that podcasts are the real rising stars of the entertainment industry.