The future is listening: How is audio entertainment shaping media consumption trends?

Vineet Singh, VP - Branding & Communications, Pocket FM discusses the shift to audio entertainment, the resurgence of audio series, and the role of AI in enhancing personalization and interactivity.

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Vineet Singh

In the past decade, the entertainment industry has undergone unprecedented innovation and transformation. The proliferation of the app ecosystem, driven by rising smartphone usage and affordable data, has redefined how we consume entertainment. Now, content is streamed online anytime, anywhere, making entertainment more personal than ever. This shift has increased consumption and posed a challenge for companies to keep up with ever-changing consumer behaviors and the growing demand for diverse content.

Significantly, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted preferences from video to audio. With people confined to their homes, screen fatigue has set in due to excessive screen time. Audio entertainment offers the convenience of multitasking, allowing people to listen while commuting, exercising, or doing daily chores.

Beyond music: How audio series are redefining entertainment

As Bain & Company noted in a blog post, “Media is blurring its shape. Lines between media types are disappearing, consumers are creators, and entertainment is daubing tech and retail all over itself. Content is ever-present, consistent across platforms, and individually personalized. As our physical world blends with virtual worlds, entertainment realities are changing too. Investment capital is flowing into startups and new technologies to meet the evolving demands of media and entertainment consumers.”

The rise of audio as a preferred medium has spurred demand for non-music audio content, leading to the resurgence of audio drama in its modern form—audio series. A Redseer study released in February 2024 highlighted the exponential growth of audio series. It revealed that with 1.3 billion addressable users globally, audio series represented a $21-25 billion opportunity in 2023, projected to double in the next five years. The study also noted that audio series had grown at a CAGR of 640%, translating to over 40 times growth from 2021 to 2023.

Why is audio experiencing such a resurgence?

1. Convenience: Audio fits seamlessly into the busy lives of listeners, allowing them to consume content while multitasking. Whether commuting, exercising, or doing daily chores, audio entertainment enhances rather than hampers their schedules.

2. Imaginative Storytelling: Unlike video, which provides explicit visuals, audio relies on words and sound effects to spark the listener's imagination, making the experience more personal, intimate, and engaging.

According to Pocket FM Digital Entertainment Insights, conducted between October 28 and November 15, 2023, with 22,442 internet users, found that 81% engage with audio entertainment daily. Storytelling was the primary catalyst, captivating one in three users, while convenience and content diversity influenced every fourth and sixth user, respectively.

Technological advancements, particularly in artificial intelligence, have revolutionized audio storytelling. Creators now use AI-driven tools to customize content, modify stories based on real-time listener feedback, and produce interactive experiences, making audio entertainment more immersive.

Personalization and interactivity: Shaping the future of audio entertainment

The future of audio entertainment, especially non-music content, looks promising. The efficient use of AI, coupled with tailored content and real-time interactivity, will continue to expand the boundaries of audio platforms. Consumer preferences for more immersive and personalized experiences will drive further innovations.

Audio entertainment has emerged as a dominant force in shaping media consumption. For consumers and creators alike, the future is indeed listening.

This article is penned by Vineet Singh, VP - Branding & Communications, Pocket FM.

Disclaimer: The article features the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the stance of the publication.

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