Multilingual Podcasting

The Rise of Multilingual Podcasting: new languages will get you more listeners

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US podcast ad revenue to reach $2 billion in 2022 and top $4 billion by 2024, study says. 

Podcasts have transitioned from niche to mainstream. As Deloitte, Edison,  Nielsen, etc. all agree, audience growth for podcasts has been nothing short of phenomenal over the past year. 

Deloitte predicted that the global podcasting market has reached USD 2B in 2022, a revenue surpassing 74% increase from last year. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) also forecasts that the market will reach USD 4B by 2024.  

Now, a podcast producer can pull in revenue in any number of ways, as the same report pointed out, through advertising, content marketing, subscriptions, contracts for branded podcasts, events, and so on. All these hinges on audience reach and a surefire way to widen that is, naturally, to go multilingual. 

ListenNotes estimates that there are about 2.2 million podcasts currently streaming in 2022, while other sources cite more than 3 million podcasts. The number varies since many podcasts either have few episodes or may not be active. EMarketer predicts U.S. adults will increase their listening time by 15.1%. 

In a March 20, 2020 blog post in Harvard’s Nieman Lab, Caroline Crampton noted how interesting it was that a new podcast, called The Nobody Zone, a six-part, true-crime series, was immediately available in five languages. “The trend for multilingual podcasts has really accelerated in the past year,” she wrote, adding that two big US publishers, Wondery and iHeartMedia, announced in August 2019 that their podcasts would be available in languages other than English. 

Wondery has translated a podcast (Dr. Death) into Spanish, Castilian Spanish, German, French, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Korean. iHeart also plans to translate a number of its podcasts (e.g., Stuff You Should Know) into other languages, including Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French, and German. 

Multilingual Podcasts key to success: localized audio Ads

Apple, Spotify, Deloitte, and Sony have all jumped into the business of podcasting, airing a great deal of successful audio content and shows. Why did they do that? The answer is simple: with additional small investment, they could boost the reach of their content and sell localized audio ads. 

Compared to video localization, the podcast translation process is, in fact, less expensive. Moreover, translating the audio ads also became a convenient option for advertisers. 7 out of 10 consumers would be more willing to buy a product with information in their own language. To get a better insight on this, you can hear some localized audio messages on our voice over samples page. 

Translating and re-recording a podcast and its ads require a smaller investment and bring a substantial ROI, by substantially broadening the target audience. Bearing in mind that seven out of ten people prefer content in their native language and would rather buy something if it is presented and described in such, it seems like a truly smart choice. 

As many podcasts use scripts, the process of translating podcasts can easily become standardized:  

  • Script transcription, if needed. 
  • Script translation and adaptation to the new target language 
  • Re-record 
  • Upload in a separate streaming feed. 

The translated podcasts usually require new voices that are native speakers of the target language. By doing that, the episodes in a new language will use local accents and expressions with better results.

How did multilingual podcasting become a trend? 

Radio was never dead. It just reshaped itself into podcasting. Yes, that new thing that Steve Jobs announced back in 2005: podcasts on iTunes. Basically, the internet has become a tool for broadcasting radio programs that could be accessed from anywhere. 

The fact that podcasts are global is also quite a departure from a traditional radio concept. Podcast creators could appeal to a broader audience, meaning that someone could easily access and hear more online radio programs and shows in, say Spanish, while living in the U.S.  

As we know, radio has the appeal of a human voice as the main protagonist of the content. Their listeners rely more on what they hear and not on what they see, unlike they do when watching TV. Good podcasts, similar to traditional radio shows, engage with the audience with voices and sounds, imagination does the rest. Programs and stories are consumed in a different way, and being able to experience that in your primary language contributed to podcasts reaching a new peak in popularity. 

A good example is the podcast series “Chapo”, started in 2018 by a streaming audio giant Spotify, and currently available in English and Spanish. Another good example is “The Nobody Zone”, a fictional series produced by RTÉ Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster. The popular show was relaunched in 2020 in four languages, in addition to the original source language, Irish: English, Danish, Spanish, and German. 

As with streaming video content, podcast listeners can access fiction and non-fiction stories, news commentary, and informational research on many topics, such as music, history, politics, arts, languages, and so on. Podcasts became a convenient type of content: easy to consume, widely available, and free. 

Does your company have a podcast and is looking to expand its audience? Are you ready to offer professional translated audio ads for your advertisers? Bromberg & Associates provides a full suite of language services, from high-quality voice over and transcriptions to transcreation to adapt your media content to another language. Be sure to reach out to us, we will be more than happy to hear from you. 

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