In recent years, podcasts have emerged as a popular medium for entertainment, information, and education globally. A podcast is essentially an audio program, similar to a radio show, but available on the internet. The term “podcast” came from Apple’s “iPod” and “Broadcast”. It allows listeners to download a series of spoken-word, audio episodes to their device and listen at their convenience. Diverse in topics, podcasts range from news and education to storytelling and interviews.

The beauty of podcasts lies in their accessibility and variety. Anyone with a smartphone or computer can listen to a wide range of topics, from cooking to technology, often for free. podcasts fit seamlessly into our busy lives, offering an engaging way to consume content while commuting, exercising, or relaxing at home. This convenience has led to a surge in podcast popularity worldwide.

In the US, and other countries, where podcast has become one of their primary sources of content, marketing using podcast is very well received.
In the US, advertising revenue from podcasts exceeded 330 billion dollars in 2020 and the number is growing each year.
Some studies* have shown that advertisement in a podcast episode is particularly well received by the audience. Unlike TV commercials and other platforms, podcasts give the illusion of having a conversation with the host, and the advertisement seems more natural.

*Podcast marketing statistics for businesses by SPIRALYTICS

Japan’s market has also seen a rise in Podcast listenership, albeit at a slower pace compared to some other countries. A recent report* surveyed 10,000 participants revealed that the diffusion rate for Podcasts in Japan is at 15.07%, defining active listeners as those who tune in more than once a month. The youth demographic, particularly those aged between 15 to 29, is driving this trend forward. 28.1% of individuals in this age group are Podcast listeners. This high percentage among young people suggests that Podcasts are resonating with the digital-native generation, who are accustomed to consuming content on-demand and online.

*Podcast domestic usage survey 2022 by Otonal

While podcasts are one of the popular ways to consume content in other countries, Japan faces a fundamental challenge in utilizing the platform for marketing. Japan’s strong tradition of visual media consumption, such as manga and television, competes with audio-only formats. Hence, just “listening” to consume content has not been widely recognized yet. 
That being said, the country’s high public transportation usage provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to listen to Podcasts during their commutes. Furthermore, Japan’s strong culture of storytelling and emphasis on education aligns well with the nature of podcasts.

Looking ahead, the podcast industry in Japan is poised for growth. There is a growing opportunity for local businesses and creators to develop podcasts that cater to Japanese tastes and interests. The increasing prevalence of smartphones and internet access in Japan sets a promising stage for the expansion of this medium.
As more young people embrace this medium, and as content diversification continues, we can expect an increase in both the number and variety of podcasts tailored to Japanese listeners. This trend will likely be accompanied by innovations in podcast technology and monetization, including marketing using the platform, making it an exciting time for both listeners and companies in Japan.

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