British airline Virgin Atlantic has released a podcast called The Venture. The show continues the brand narrative of doing things differently by exploring the success stories of pioneering brands. Guests include Jonathan Murray (co-creator of MTV's The Real World) and members of the founding team of US satirical news network The Onion. The Venture was created by American podcasting network Gimlet Media's native advertising arm, Gimlet Creative.
Twenty-four per cent of Americans (about 57 million people) now listen to a podcast at least once a month. More than half of those listen to three or more podcasts per week, and over 20% follow upwards of six shows (Edison Research, 2017). To connect with these deep listeners, brands are moving from interstitial audio ads into their own branded podcasts.
In 2015 – alongside the release of true-crime blockbuster podcast Serial – General Electric amassed five million downloads for its storytelling podcast The Message. Now, podcast creators are drawing in audiences with explainer formats that digest complex themes. From shows examining culture like American musician Hrishikesh Hirway's Song Exploder and The New York Times' Still Processing to Crooked Media analysing current events and global policy, listeners are flocking to competent voices that help them make sense of the world. Brands can play a part in this by exploring issues close to their core business and values, as demonstrated by DTR – a podcast on relationships in the digital age that Gimlet created for dating app Tinder.
For more on growth factors and brand communications in podcasting, check out our March 2017 Pop Culture Round-Up.