International Podcast Day: Kerala’s independent podcasters are setting their sights on future growth.
Ever since the advent of smartphones, there was a visible paradigm shift from reading paperback books to video content.
Ever since the advent of smartphones, there was a visible paradigm shift from reading paperback books to video content. Due to the fast pace of regular life and career in the modern times, many have moved to audio content. The Covid pandemic and the subsequent lockdown fuelled the transition like never before. Though radio still has takers among Malayalis, podcasting culture is seeing a silent revolution across Kerala.
With the arrival of popular platforms like Clubhouse, Malayalis have instantly been introduced to a new realm of content lately. Be it politics, sports or entertainment, the audio-only platform has many takers amid a busy life. As the world celebrates International Podcast Day on Thursday, Kerala’s independent podcasters are setting their sights on future growth.
Malayalis started venturing into podcasting in the late 2000s. “Though most of us started podcasting as a time pass, the community now has more than 1,500 creators across Kerala. Among them, around 500 podcasters ensure regular content. In the beginning, the lack of a popular platform was an issue for many. However, several creators have come up with blogs and websites to showcase their passion to the world.
Starting from politics to sports, we have been going through a variety of content over the years,” said Kollam-based Vivek V, who runs a podcast Be Positive for the last five years on Spotify and Gaana.
Interestingly, India ranks third in terms of active listeners of podcasts and many feel that Kerala’s podcast ecosystem will eventually grow in stature. “We are going to witness a drastic growth in the coming five years. With the arrival of Clubhouse, people have become familiar with the audio platform,” said Minnu Aji, a budding podcaster from Kottayam,who runs Blueberry Blog.
For creators, coming up with innovative topics is also a challenge, especially since listeners are already exposed to a multitude of content on other media. “My podcast is focused on self-growth through inspiring stories. The sessions are focused on improving self-esteem of listeners through specific points. Instead of doing miscellaneous topics, we are trying to come up with niche content for the audience,” said Minnu. For many, their podcast experiments began during the lockdown last year. “Taking a cue from FM radio channels, I started talking about current issues humorously under the tag ‘Kalippan’s Talks’. As I had the experience of creating ad jingles, it was a natural transition for me. I have completed 15 episodes so far,” said Vignesh Rajashob.
‘Need original content’
Many podcasters are calling for original content in Malayalam to further the growth of Kerala’s podcast ecosystem. “Just like OTT platforms, apps like Spotify and Gaana promote original content these days. Like old radio dramas, original content through podcasts has more audience. Podcasters from other parts of India have already joined the bandwagon. We need to give the same experience to our listeners to popularise the platform,” said Jishnu Prasad B whose podcast is titled ‘Tea Talks with JP’.
Kerala is yet to witness a large number of full-time podcasters. Lack of sponsorship is the main hindrance for many creators. “We are yet to get a full-time podcaster in Kerala. But the situation is gradually changing. As our shows are getting more listeners, we are planning to enter into full-time podcast service within a year,” said Vivek. Apart from subscriptions, many podcasters say listeners are reaching out with feedback. “It’s immensely satisfying when people recognise our efforts. Since our followers subscribe to platforms like Spotify and Gaana, we hope to attract more sponsors and expand our reach,” he said.