Daily News Podcasts
During the coronavirus pandemic, daily news podcasts grew in popularity and some publishers reported increased subscription numbers for their audio briefings. Now that listening patterns have returned to normal, it’s time to assess how the genre is developing – with a view to learning from both successes and failures.
Daily news podcasts are a significant commitment for publishers and there is great variation in approach. The New York Times’ The Daily has a dedicated production team of 15 people enabling them to do extensive research and develop plot driven narratives before each episode is recorded. The Guardian’s Today in Focus has a smaller team of nine, but still produces a high quality show on a very tight schedule and budget.
Podcasts are a fast and easy way to keep up with breaking news, but they can also provide a deeper dive into a specific story or issue. With this in mind it’s important to ask yourself what makes your show unique. What are the key issues your audience is concerned about? How can you use your content to engage them in the most meaningful way? These are just some of the questions you will want to consider as you create your own daily news podcast.
Some of the most innovative producers are exploring different ways to present a daily news briefing. For example, The FT’s News Briefing offers a concise overview of the main news stories and features on offer, while The Times’ Daily puts the spotlight on one particular piece of journalism each day. The Yale Daily News is the oldest college daily newspaper in the United States, and is published every day while the university is in session. It carries a liberal bias and is known for its headlines that are sometimes shocking or inflammatory.
For publishers who rely on subscriptions for their revenue, daily news podcasts are seen as a crucial means to build loyalty and reduce churn. Many interviewees we spoke to reported that listener numbers for their daily news podcasts had stayed the same or even grown during the pandemic, while ad revenues held up better than in other genres.
The daily news podcast market is dominated by the US, with major commercial and public broadcasters investing heavily in these shows. In Europe, however, supply is much more limited. Just a few public radio stations in Denmark and Sweden produce native daily news podcasts, while there are only nine shows in the UK and two in Australia.
Many publishers struggle to make a profitable return on their investment, partly because the medium is not yet established enough to support sustainable business models. But the success of The Daily and other big-name titles is generating excitement in other markets, with a number of smaller players launching short-form daily news podcasts. It is a genre that could be poised to grow further in the years ahead.