The lockdown has made people explore things that they didn’t have time for in the past because that is helping them to stay motivated and keep going during this tough phase. Listening to podcasts is one of the things that people are opting for.
A report released by PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), a multinational business consulting firm, last year says that India has seen a rise in the number of podcast listeners. At the end of 2018, monthly listeners were 4 crore which was 57.6 per cent more than the year before. This data makes us the world’s third-largest podcast-listening population after China and the United States. The data also mentioned that the growth is set to continue and listener numbers could increase at 34.5 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) to 17.61 crore by 2023. The reports could vary post-lockdown though.
To understand why people are opting for podcasts and how is it helping them during the lockdown, we spoke to a few consumers.
It takes you to the other world
Three years back, Hrishikesh Bhalchandra (25) was in Mumbai when he got introduced to podcasts. He says, “While commuting to my workplace via local trains, I used to listen to Hindi podcasts. Since then, I kind of got addicted to it.”
Out of all the content creators, Nilesh Mishra is one of his favourites. “Mishra’s stories revolve around the urban and rural lifestyles that I feel deeply connected to. Nowadays, people are running to achieve success without understanding what it is. However, Mishra’s podcasts help people take a deep breath in this fast-paced world and understand the hidden treasures of life. During the lockdown, however, I have started to enjoy Ruskin Bond’s podcasts on Prasar Bharati,” Bhalchandra says. He has stored stories of Marathi authors PL Deshpande and VP Kale while Cyrus Says by Cyrus Broacha and Vir Das’s Potcast are his favourites from the comedy genre.
He also recommends listening to Ek Kahani Aisi Bhi to those who love horror content.
More creative ideas
Lockdown is taking a toll on everyone in some way or the other. Telling us how podcasts help him keep going, Bhalchandra says, “Whenever I feel low, I plug in my headphones and play a random podcast. I get to learn a lot from them. In this epidemic, when many of us are facing a financial and mental crisis, these podcasts help me stay motivated. They always open doors for new creative ideas to achieve some peace of mind!”
He adds that the lockdown offered everyone the gift of time to unlock their hidden talents. He believes that podcast is the best way to express oneself and so, he too is in the process of coming up with his own with Marathi content.
Utilising the time well
Another listener, Ankush Thombare (27) chose to utilise his two precious hours that he had to spend in commuting to and from work. A friend suggested to him that he should listen to podcasts.
“Daily I listen to The Habit Coach podcast as also On Purpose with Jay Shetty and some weekly podcasts like My Indian Life on Spotify app. The Habit Coach podcast is a bite-size podcast which suggests quick and easy actionable everyday habits and also has a daily dose of facts and knowledge. Jay Shetty's On Purpose is making wisdom go viral with life coaching sessions and occasional interviews with successful people,” he says.
Tumse ho payega
Since we are all getting some extra time for ourselves, we can get organised and motivated with podcasts, just the way Thombare does. “I can actually install the habit suggestions from The Habit Coach and get up early and exercise keeping myself energised for the rest of the day. On the other hand, listening to On Purpose and interviews done by Jay Shetty with some successful people keeps me motivated and inspired,” says he.
Apart from getting motivated everyday via these podcasts, Thombare aims to motivate others as well by creating his own podcast. “Actually, I do want to come up with a podcast. It will be a motivational one with the theme that all individuals are capable of doing whatever they set themselves for and will be called Tumse Ho Payega,” he reveals.
Podcasts are relatable
Falguni Ajay Panchmatia (26) got introduced to podcasts during her post-graduation. “When I used to be stressed due to studies and wanted to consume some light content, I used to listen to podcasts. I started with AIB podcasts,” says the girl who now enjoys The Internet Said So where they pick up general topics like siblings, boarding schools, etc which are highly relatable.
Like many, these podcasts help Panchmatia to relax. “In this time of crisis, when you are overthinking and get into the negative mood, it works as a distraction from the negativity around you,” she says and adds that apart from podcasts, she also listens to radio as her mother prefers that. But on radio, stuff gets repeated which doesn't happen in podcasts. The content is very unique and you cannot predict what is coming your way, she observes.
Voice quality and narration
A working professional, Anish Anbarasan (22) was told by a friend to listen to podcasts. He started with Zakir Khan’s podcast which he liked so much that he continued listening and exploring other new content.
“I myself am very much interested in creating content for people and being someone who has participated in RJ competition at college level, I know that be it on radio or podcast, your voice is what brings people to you. Your narration is the second most important factor,” he says.
Ummeed gives hope to people
Ummeed with Zakir Khan is something Anbarasan keeps going back to. It is a series on how Zakir Khan started his career and how different people played a major role in his life. Anbarasan says, “At this point in time, when every person’s life has been affected, listening to podcasts like his gives you a different ummeed (hope) in life. Ummeed has changed me as a person a lot.”
Suggesting a podcast for others to listen to, he says, The Overthink Tank talks about how people overthink about a certain thing. There are a few episodes where mainstream comedians have spoken about how people overthink and what is the answer to it. I would suggest people to go for it.”