When will audio dramas get their day?

[00:00:00] Brendan: Ah, I keep forgetting it. Is it or. To, to flesh flesh, flesh out the flesh cause you have the bare bones and then you

[00:00:11] Mark: add the flesh to it. Otherwise you're just getting rid of waste products.

[00:00:26] I'm Mark Steadman from Podiant

[00:00:28] Brendan: and I'm Brendan Hutchins from podcast advocate. You've got most. I came across the, a couple infographics from a cast. And, uh, they, I assume that got it from there. The podcast app or, or just the, uh, actually didn't look too

[00:00:44] Mark: well from what I gather, uh, they've conducted a survey, um, of about 1200 people in the U S and the UK, uh, separately.

[00:00:55] It was

[00:00:55] Brendan: 1300 people, um, it in the, uh, the UK demographics and it looks like it was. More, uh, demographically representative than just their

[00:01:07] Mark: listeners. I think it potentially dispels some myths around how podcasts are consumed in the UK. Where do the numbers are like really quite similar? Yeah. Very similar.

[00:01:20] I mean, they, they start off with age so 16 to 34 is by far the biggest age. Bracket, um, in both, um, both the us and the UK are very, very similar numbers. Um, and you know how often people listen, you know, you're talking about just under, well, a bit under a third, or actually just over a quarter of people who listen to podcasts once a week.

[00:01:45] I couldn't

[00:01:45] Brendan: find that they had done. The survey before to see like a trend. Um, so it'll be cool if they keep doing this in the future to get that, uh, because that's one of the coolest things I think with the infinite dial research is that they've been doing it

[00:02:00] Mark: for so long. I think the biggest revelation for me, I don't know how you feel is, um, how do we F the, the, how do we find a new podcast?

[00:02:08] Because obviously discovery is something that is near and dear to both of our hearts, uh, and quoting directly from, um, from the, certainly the UK report. Cause I think this is in, oh, actually I think it's in both, but um, when in for discover new shows through social media, followed by TV and friends and family, so yeah.

[00:02:25] That's really interesting. Yeah, absolutely. So more than three out of five, who listened to a podcast in the past three months have recommended a podcast to someone else retold a story or recommended a product or service they heard about on a podcast. And I think that is, that shows you. Again, you know, if, if we take this, uh, accurate, uh, as accurate, then it really shows us where we as podcasters should be putting our efforts in terms of getting people to listen to our shows and word of mouth.

[00:02:58] Uh, I it's it's that? It's that's, that's the killer. That's that's the one to, to, to go for. Because yes, social media is good, but, uh, and, and obviously, you know, you want to keep, keep doing that, but three out of five recommend re recommend a podcast to someone else that's, that's big, that's

[00:03:15] Brendan: big numbers.

[00:03:15] Yeah. That's very big. Um, comparing that to the, the U S version of the same survey one at a three discover new shows through social media, followed by personal recommendations, et cetera, at 27%. So it's broken down into thirds without the TV. I'm assuming the TV part is the BBC, like talking about their own.

[00:03:39] Th there, um, audio, a free downloads.

[00:03:42] Mark: Well, possibly, I mean they, yeah, they might have the odd ad cause uh, the BBC has ads for its own content in between shows. Uh, and so it might, sometimes it will have an ad for a particular radio program and then sometimes it'll, it might, so it might mention a podcast.

[00:03:57] I've not actually come up. That's like

[00:03:59] Brendan: Nick Quan said in his latest, um, uh, pod newsletter. Um, I'm one of those insufferable millennials who, uh, is a coord never. And, um, you know, I don't watch. Television. And so I don't ever see ads like that. Like w we watch Netflix occasionally, but, uh, it's, it's pretty low priority for us, so,

[00:04:22] Mark: yeah.

[00:04:22] Yeah. I, I, I, I do think that is interesting. I'm quite intrigued by, yeah. What, what the TV is there? Cause it's not. Commercials, right?

[00:04:31] Brendan: Yeah. I think it's funny too, like the way, and this is just about surveys in general and infographics, but they say in the, uh, at the end, both in the UK and the, um, alright.

[00:04:42] Yeah, I guess it's kind of in both of them, but mostly in the UK version, it says one in four discover news shows through social media, which is 25% followed by TV at 25. But the margin nervous be really close, but also like, like to your point, a quarter of it's social media and 23% is friends and family.

[00:05:02] So that's, uh, that's a lot that a person, like a podcaster could not control per se, but have a. Like, you're not going to, you know, most, most independent podcasters are not going to get on a TV, but, uh, we do have the ability to ask friends and family for, to post on social media.

[00:05:20] Mark: Yeah. And even just, you know, tell you tell two people and they tell two people, you know, that, that whole thing, like this doubles down, I think on that, the word of mouth, um, really being.

[00:05:33] So there's a section on the unreachable, um, which I guess is, is, you know, people that might be hard to advertise to or whatever. And it's one of the, one of the things that I found interesting, which was at the right, the bottom of the second page of this infographic is. This is me, me being snarky, mark, speak to them as they want to be spoken to advert creative and tone should fit a particular podcasts, tone.

[00:06:03] A cast, I think may be, could try a little bit harder in that regard. Yeah. Cause they do the ad injection. Yep. They have the little noise, which is like, I like that. I think that's really smart. I like it. Um, it's a way of identifying once you sort of know what that little bit means, you know, that it means, okay, well we're now outside of.

[00:06:27] Creative, um, work of, of this particular podcast, uh, and, and, you know, the, the journalistic ethics or whatever are different or whatever. Right. Um, and I, you know, I think that's a sensible, uh, sensible move to, to signpost that, but yeah, uh, getting, getting the, I think there's a few things there that the ACAS really need to work on and, and matching tone is one and not repeating ads within the same podcast.

[00:06:53] I think what will be, what will be helpful is a simple algorithm. That's like, if we don't have an. Content to fill this ads ad block. Don't worry about the ad block. Yeah. Focus more on the actual creative content and the, uh, there's another word for creative, but you know, whatever the, the, the art is or whatever the thing is that is being delivered.

[00:07:16] Yeah. Focus more on delivering that then we've, you know, we've got a space. We've got to fill it because we're, we're losing imaginary money. You're not losing money. Right. Not making money. That's not the same as losing it. Um, and so yeah, it, it, it is frustrating where they're, they're like they're so desperate and cloyingly desperate to fill these ad spots that they've got to repeat the same content within the same podcast.

[00:07:39] And I would like them to focus a little bit more on the content and then. Yeah.

[00:07:44] Brendan: Yeah, definitely. I, and I've I, the thing I mentioned this before with, um, when I recommended, uh, today explained how they had a bunch of mattress firm ads right now it's Quip the toothbrush thing. Yeah. It was Google. Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

[00:07:57] And it's like, they, they, they built a structure into their podcasts that they have three ad spots and they only ever seem to have one advertiser at a time. And it's like, they're trying to do interesting things with it, you know? Cause it's a host read thing. So at least. They have a little bit more control over it.

[00:08:15] Um, but it definitely still gets old. Three ad spots per, per 20 minute podcast. It's like, okay. Yes. I hear you. Yes. Thank you. Thank you, Quip. Thank you, Google for sponsoring. I get

[00:08:28] Mark: it. But at least what I will say is that they are different each time. Yeah. I've really enjoyed that, um, that show lately. And I, I,

[00:08:37] Brendan: I wonder, uh, after, after I recommended it to you, because you you're even saying on the show, like.

[00:08:43] Oh, yeah. I've been looking for a new daily podcast and I'm like, oh great. Let's talk about this. And then I listened to it for the next, like two weeks since we spoke. And then it's like every day, it's about the U S and I'm like, oh shit, is this just a UN I guess this is just us.

[00:08:56] Mark: Like, yeah. Um, yeah. Yeah, it is.

[00:09:00] But it's it's. Yeah, I think there's, there's a style that I'm really, I really enjoy that. I think. We have with this show to a degree. And I think shows like reply all possibly well TLDR before it. I kind of think, yeah, I don't know about pioneered, but like broad brought it to more people have this sort of quirky.

[00:09:21] Like the topics can be serious. Um, but they can be delivered with a degree of imagination and a degree of panache or a degree of humor that doesn't make them comedy podcasts, but it makes them entertaining to listen to exactly. Uh, and I, yeah, I really like that kind of, that's becoming a new sort of genre.

[00:09:40] It's not really a genre, but it's. Execution. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. An execution style that I'm, I'm really getting more into. And I think, um, the,

[00:09:49] Brendan: the comparison to reply all is really interesting. And, and I think spot on they, the, the feel of it is so similar to that. Um, and it actually, it also makes me kind of like, think about how much time it takes for reply all to make an episode versus.

[00:10:07] Today, explain comes up five days a week and they, each one is excellent. It's not like in any of them, like are lacking even like, I guess the, the most recent episode, half of it was, you know, the, the mark Zuckerberg interview, which is just taken from a different Vox podcast, but it was still like, they had more information on top of that.

[00:10:26] It wasn't just a rebroadcast. It was. You know that plus more commentary,

[00:10:30] Mark: I think. Yeah. Maybe to play devil's advocate. Yeah. The, the today explained thing. I mean, like they, I was going to play devil's advocate and then I sort of shot myself in the foot with my own argument because, you know, th th the things they do with the music and stuff like that, you know, they, they had, um, It was, it was the CDC.

[00:10:49] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. The one just before the mark Zuckerberg episode.

[00:10:51] Brendan: Yeah. They had like three, three different ACDC, like

[00:10:55] Mark: parodies. Yeah. Um, and to, you know, to, to turn that around, I think obviously shows that they're putting money and time and effort into, into the show and turning it around every, every week.

[00:11:05] But I guess when, when you're not doing that, a vast percentage of. Really just mainly interviewing one person. Yeah. But yeah, I, I guess, you know, a fair amount of it is in studio, but you know, again, to shoot myself in the foot, reply, all have been doing that for a few weeks. Um, whether it's super tech support or yes, yes, no.

[00:11:26] And they're very fun and entertaining, but yes, they're not what made the show. Kind of compelling listening and, and I have a lot of sympathy for them because they really pulled it out of the bag with some stuff last year, you know, going to India and doing various things like they really did. Um, and so, okay.

[00:11:45] Maybe they get to rest on their laurels a little bit, but, um, yeah, it, it is interesting to see other shows sort of. Taking that style and applying different things to it. And I, it is a style that I really enjoy and I think it can make dry topics a lot more palatable without it being too patronizing or pandering or condescending.

[00:12:07] I think it's a, it's a really smart style that is for a particular. I, I, you know, very much for a particular age group. Yeah, for sure. Um, it's for the age group that finds the news boring, but I

[00:12:17] Brendan: okay. Another podcast that has a similar style to that is a endless thread, not wonderful thread with, uh, with you and John, but, um, the

[00:12:28] Mark: copycats, we might do an episode again soon.

[00:12:30] Brendan: Awesome. I was going to say. And, uh, endless thread is, uh, I think it's the WBUR, um, with a couple of other radio stations involved and, uh, in collaboration with Reddit. And so they might find a new Reddit thread each week and kind of go down a rabbit hole with trying to find. Somebody to talk to like some, some posts that came up and they, they interview that person and the backstory and, uh, they usually go, like, they go out into the field to do a bunch of interviews with, with different people.

[00:13:05] And it has that. Feel that style, that, that, um, conversational, friendly attitude, uh, that both reply all in today, explain, have as well. So I was enjoying that one and I really like the end credits of the podcast because they. They introduced each person that worked on the show and they all reply with a popular subreddit or shows a dream realized by Jessica Albert, who, when we ask, if she likes the episode, we've put together, she says w T F Iris Adler is our executive producer.

[00:13:42] And she makes sure our stories meet the bar of mildly interesting mix and sound designed by John karate and Paul Vikas, who, whenever we go to record in the field with them, they remind. Nature's our web producer is Megan Kelly, who looks at our attempts at writing web copy and goes, our intern is Chris.

[00:14:02] I was recently on, um, okay. So I love slack. Slack is just, I know this is old news, but I'm, you know, relatively new to it and it's, I've been on it for like a year. I just love it. Anyways. I was on a slack group called podcast enthusiasts and. We can include a link in the show notes for that as well. It's a really great group of about fans of podcasts in general, but mostly they talk about audio dramas.

[00:14:29] Uh, they, they really love their fiction podcasts. And somebody mentioned in the general thread recently, um, asking winner winner, audio dramas, really going to be noticed like so much talk about podcasts is like, The the daily news podcast or, or, or true crime podcasts and all that everybody wants to talk about.

[00:14:55] Um, you know, when, when, when there, um, audio drama is really going to make their, their claim. And, uh, I thought that it was an interesting thing to think about. There, there have been some, you know, kind of hits a little bit. There's been some attempts to bring in bigger names, both, uh, both company wide and, um, both with like bigger names and like actors and stuff, but there's still, hasn't been a big boom in that part of the industry.

[00:15:26] And it's so. Interesting, um, you know, thought experiment. And now I wanted to know if, if you had any ideas or if you just want to hear some of my ideas

[00:15:36] Mark: of that. I mean, maybe it comes back to the podcast stats in that the vast majority of podcasts that people listen to are comedy. Um, and you know, people listen to audio books and I think for the most.

[00:15:53] This is anecdotal, but I would imagine it's true. If you're listening to audio books, you're probably using audible or another subscription service because audio books be expensive. A drama requires so much more attention yeah. Than comedy, or even news to a degree because news is a femoral. Um, you know, and it's like, okay, well, I missed that interview with mark Zuckerberg, or I missed a point that he was making the.

[00:16:18] If I really care about it, I can, I can, you know, rewind take seconds, but absolutely I'll have forgotten about it tomorrow anyway. So I think it may be the, the attention thing.

[00:16:28] Brendan: That's a really good point. I was just talking to my partner about that and how, uh, I loved listening to podcasts because I don't have to pay full 10.

[00:16:36] I can listen to while I'm working. And I, if I, if I miss something, I either I can hit the. Button back, or I can just ignore it and I'll catch it on the other seven podcasts I'm listening to after this, you know? Um, but I don't really like listening to audio books because I feel like there's so much attention I need to spend on it.

[00:16:57] Um, she just recommended a book and I, and I listened to it and it was. So heavy that like, and that was another thing, is that the length of time? Um, it was a seven hour audio book didn't even though I listened to at 1.7, five speed, it's still a long time in that same world. And I don't often, you know, unless I find a new podcast, I get a great one recommended like mission to XIX.

[00:17:22] I don't usually binge a whole season or a whole podcast series. I space it out. And so, you know, if I'm listening to New York times the daily or today explained, or, um, reveal, which is always heavy, it's an hour, it's half an hour. And then I can move on to tech news or I can move on to, you know, whatever comes up next.

[00:17:46] Some comedy podcasts. Uh, whereas an audio book, it's like, oh my God, the world is over. It's just the

[00:17:52] Mark: type

[00:17:52] Brendan: of books that you're reading. Yeah, probably it was a, it was a, yeah. A line becomes a river, which is. Uh, stories from the border of the U S and Mexico. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:18:04] Mark: For the most part, I want to like more audio drama, audio drama podcasts than I do, because they can sometimes suffer from, uh, the radio play kind of.

[00:18:19] Feel, which is, it tends to be sort of, oh, I've just walked into a room. Oh, sitting down, ah, so much siding. Ah, I am going to have a cup of tea. I kinky kinky, you know, it's it's um, it can, it can get a bit much. Uh, and so I think, uh, there, there was a recently a BBC drama, which was, I think, a podcast. Lucy. And I can't remember the name at the moment, but yeah, it was, it was okay.

[00:18:54] Um, and it, you know, it it's, it's suffered from a similar kind of thing. And I think at least a show like, um, the, the, the Gimlet one homecoming, I mean,

[00:19:07] Brendan: I love that so much. Yeah. I

[00:19:08] Mark: think whatever it was, I think there is, they were willing to. Let the listener, maybe not know exactly what's going on or exactly where a person is at any one time and not, yeah.

[00:19:22] They didn't worry too much about

[00:19:23] Brendan: it. Yeah. They did amazing work on the sound design. Like you just felt enveloped in it without having to be

[00:19:29] Mark: hit over that. Uh, and you know, they, they didn't make sure that everything was absolutely 100% audible, you know, every syllable came through because they wanted it to be, you know, as natural as possible.

[00:19:40] And, uh, I think, you know, all of the actors did. Very well considering, you know, I mean, it'd be interesting to, to get a look at how that was recorded and, you know, one imagines, it would be, as you would, as you would think, you know, it's people reading a script, uh, across from each other kind of thing or in booths, but yeah, they do

[00:19:56] Brendan: some onsite recordings.

[00:19:58] Um, they actually had some behind the scenes, little vignettes after some of the episodes and they talked about how they had David Schwimmer and Catherine keener go. To a, um, a little like Ferris wheel and in an actual like amusement park. Um, but the little small one or whatever, and they. I had to have them like, uh, you know, kind of get people away for a little bit and just, um, you know, kind of do an onset recording.

[00:20:29] And, uh, it was, it was pretty cool. Like they, they really made the effort to get the good sounds in there.

[00:20:39] so some of the responses in the, um, in that slack thread I thought were, were pretty great on, on ways that or ideas about why. Uh, fiction podcasts, aren't viewed as popular as other types of podcasts. And I thought that they might be worth a mention. One of the first things that came to my mind was having more Nate, more large names coming into the world of fiction podcasts, specifically.

[00:21:08] Uh, we were talking with, uh, my last episode about like Netflix and Amazon originals or audible originals and those kinds of things, more companies, more companies coming out with audible originals of their own originals would, um, definitely bring more credibility to the genre, um, and like audible. I don't recall if they have any fiction podcasts yet, but they know that they definitely have a bunch of their own non-fiction podcasts.

[00:21:40] Um, and then there's the one from Stitcher, um, by Marvel, which, um, I haven't listened to yet. And we were just talking about homecoming. I had David Schwimmer, Catherine keener, Oscar, Isaac, David Cross, but having, having more, uh, you know, Gimlet type places, bringing, being able to pay the bills. I think that would bring more, uh, attention to fiction podcasts.

[00:22:04] Um, also director replacement and, you know, as much as we hate it, apple is, um, the big directory that everybody goes to or not, not that everybody goes to, but, uh, that is the most prevalent one that people, um, notice and use. And there is no like there's no fiction versus non-fiction session. It there's.

[00:22:29] You know, you can, you can kind of dive down and find fiction in, uh, you know, Ziandra sub genre, but it's not like a, uh, a big prevalent area. That's easy to find. Um, and so doing something like that would definitely bring more awareness to it. And then having more reviewers that are critical of, um, Of podcasts in general, like the podcasts.

[00:22:55] One of the things I love about the podcast community is how kind and supportive and friendly everybody is. Everybody. Uh, it's into so many independence. People are very, um, hesitant to be. Critiques. And I count myself as one of them. Like on this time on this podcast, we kind of rant about things occasionally,

[00:23:17] Mark: but, and what I will say is we tend to punch upwards.

[00:23:21] Um, we, we, we don't even punch sideways. Right. Uh, we, you know, we, we, yeah, we're, we're always punching up. So,

[00:23:27] Brendan: and even I'm hesitant to punch upward sometimes like no offense to discover products, but like, you know, discover pots is, is pretty kind of. Yeah. It's, it's a lot of positivity there, which is awesome, but it's also, there's not a lot of critique.

[00:23:42] And so places like audible feast and will Williams, um, like she had a column more or less, or a newsletter called the podcast problems. She recently rebranded it, but still does a column of podcasts problems where they go in deep of. What needs to improve in some of these podcasts that are coming out.

[00:24:02] And I think it's, it's a needed, um, avenue, um, right, and, and needed critique on the, on the medium in order to, for it to grow. And audible, audible feces a little bit more, um, wide ranging and they're in their pajamas, but Willy Williams, uh, specifically loves audio dramas and fiction. So it's a little bit more

[00:24:24] Mark: into that.

[00:24:24] Common, I think has said, um, on Harmontown that the podcast space is kind of. It's a small pond. And so you don't do yourself much of a service by thrashing around in that pond. And we kicking up a big stink, you know, as much as like we said, we, you know, we, we, we do have a go at certain things and we, we, we have our complaints.

[00:24:43] I think it all comes from, and I think this is the space with a lot of this. W w what you would call positivity, I think is, is actually more. We can be critical, but it's all in the service of making something better for everyone. It's not so that we can elevate ourselves by, you know, pooping on someone else.

[00:25:02] Um, it's it's so that we can all have a better experience. And, uh, I, you know, that, that's what, that's my. Read of, of, of the landscape? Um, I, I think, yeah, I would be interested to see, um, a proper sort of review site just for fiction podcasts, because. A lot of podcasts like that. So much of it is either subjective or it's because podcasts are kind of informational to the, to the larger degree, um, you know, news and discussion and things like that.

[00:25:37] There's not much point in reviewing them apart from like the audio quality is fine, you know? The the, this, this podcast host has an irritating vocal tech, uh, and that, that kind of stuff is not really, you wouldn't review a film like that. Right. Um, and so, you know, there's not much point in reviewing a podcast like that to my mind, but fiction, uh, feels like.

[00:26:01] You can really dig into the actual meat of the content and have a lot more to say about it because it's something that's been created, you know, from nothing rather than being a discussion on a thing that already exists. Yes.

[00:26:15] Brendan: I actually am just starting up a new season of podcast playlist. And, uh, it's only about positive things.

[00:26:21] It's only recommendations. It's never critiques.

[00:26:23] Mark: That's the way to do it is to, is to own a review. The things that you like, and then. Uh, you know, if someone comes to you and says, will you write a review and you don't, you know, you can always say, look, I'll, you know, I won't tell you whether I'll post a review, but you know, if, if you, if you see review, then that means I like it.

[00:26:42] Uh, I don't review things. I don't like pretty much

[00:26:45] Brendan: yeah. On that. I pretty much only mentioned things that I like. I know I never like give a star rating or anything. Cause if you, if I did, you'd only see like four and five stars. Um, and he'd never see like one or twos. And so yeah. If I mention it, then it's something that I endorse.

[00:27:01] I got to do an aside about Stitcher. I went on, I downloaded Stitcher too, just to check. I had a new client for pan that wanted some audio editing and they were asking about chapter markers. They obviously listened to Stitcher from some of those things, things they'd mentioned. So I wanted to know if it would even benefit them.

[00:27:22] Fi by looking at. So I went on the Stitcher to see if they supported chapter markers and a TLDR, of course not no way, but the interface just doesn't make any sense that I probably would understand it if I gave it more than just the seven minutes that I tried to find a podcast that I could remember that had chapter markers in it, which is a bunch of them.

[00:27:43] And I just kept searching. I'm like, I can't find ATP. I can't find, uh, a whole bunch of podcasts that are like really popular. And, um, I guess it's cause you have to go and submit it

[00:27:55] Mark: yourself. I think they got themselves in trouble before because they were, um, going and polling the iTunes store and taking people's podcasts and then re encoding them.

[00:28:07] Yeah. That's not cool. No, exactly. That they'll almost certainly still be doing that. And so they. They got wrapped on the note. I know Chris Hardwick wrote, I think like an open letter to them and you know, it was valid, polite, but like, dude, you can't take my content. Yeah. Shove ads over it.

[00:28:30] Brendan: So tomorrow, uh, the next issue of the earbuds podcast collective is going to be curated by me. And I am doing a podcast playlist season in, in, uh, collaboration with it. So I'm going to do one episode for each of the five recommended episodes. And so if you subscribe to your podcasts collective today, end of the day, this comes up and you'll get that email tomorrow.

[00:28:57] Um, or actually that's on Sunday. So maybe if you subscribe by Saturday and then, uh, then you can listen along and. Read along with the reviews and recommendations. So that'd be kind of fun.

[00:29:08] Mark: Good. Well, um, should we do a scan next week? No, that sounds great. All right. Uh, it's a date