How is the audio still alive in the world of images and videos?
A picture says a thousand words, Instagram is thriving on this concept. People are watching videos on YouTube, where 400 hours of videos are getting uploaded every minute. Artificial intelligence is used to come up with creatively curated movies and series on Netflix, which people are binge-watching. Video content is the king today.
But in the visual-centric world, audio experiences are still part of us. We enjoy listening to music, podcasts, audiobook, radio, along watching videos, series, and movies.
According to an article by Financial Express, the audiobook and podcast market is expected to grow by 25 to 30 % as compared to a mere 4% growth of overall media and entertainment industry on a global scale. India is among the top 3 markets of podcast users only after China and the US.
It is a little strange to hold up to this fact. So let's try to understand the reasons why the people still prefer audio:
1. Freedom to Imagine: Audio helps you use your imagination and create a social experience for yourself. As you are listening to music or podcasts or book, you are creating a small world in your head on your own, which doesn't happen in the case of video experience. It takes us to another world which is created by us, which we own entirely.
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything." ― Plato
2. Multitasking capability: Audio doesn't require as much attention as video or images. In today's fast world, people want to save time by doing multiple tasks at the same time. It gets a little tricky if you are watching a video as it demands more attention. On the other hand, you can drive a car, cook, paint, or do whatever work you want to while listening to your favorite song or podcast or radio. It gives you the capability to multitask. At the same time, listening to podcasts, radio, or music, even the mundane of tasks can be carried out with great ease without feeling bored. Studies have shown that users turn towards podcasts if they want shorter engagements like for an hour or less. Still, they prefer audiobooks if they wish longer engagements, for example, if they are traveling on flights or are on vacation.
3. Psychological reason: Our brain is a very complex and beautiful organ. Whether it's audio or video or image, it creates the same kind of activation in mind. Therefore, it so happens sometimes that while listening to an audiobook, you get so immersed in the story that you don't realize later while recalling it that whether you watched that movie, read that book, or listened to the audiobook.
4. Reach: When our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, wanted to reach the grassroots of our society, he didn't use just the internet; he used radio as the medium to launch his podcast "Mann Ki Baat." So, there is no doubt that although internet penetration is rising, if we want to reach the remotest of the village, radio is still the most preferred channel.
These are some of the reasons, in my opinion, why the audio industry is still doing pretty well in the market. Spotify has redesigned its app to include podcasts. Google has decided to add podcasts to its search engine results, YouTube, which is majorly a video streaming platform, came up with YouTube music.
In the coming years, as the internet and smartphone penetration is rising, I hope to see some technological advancements in the audio industry for better content and user experience even in the most traditional medium like radio.
So, tune in and turn up the volume.