After several years of accelerated growth, the podcast achieved widespread success and a large corporate investment that many observed as overkill. During 2022, podcasting had to get its feet back on the ground. The advertising market has been weak and, for the coming year, layoffs are expected to continue, although the industry is not expected to be in danger. There was some respite with various mergers and acquisitions that fought back against advertising that became stringent. The hardest part was the drop in employment after years of frenzied hiring.
In this decade, one thing we have learned was to always expect the unexpected. Of course, predicting the future can be both wrong and inaccurate in this changing world. Several experts see the need to avoid major recessions, something that is also happening in the podcast arena. It has been pointed out that slow but manageable growth should be managed. Any recession could lead to a downturn in the podcasting industry.
The advertising market, as they talk in industry terms, is still soft. There are still a number of dollars flowing into various types of media, but it is not growing as it used to. From there arises the possibility that there could be a significant worsening in the run-up to 2023. Although it may sound basic, advertising is still susceptible to economic disruption.
The problems of 2022 for the podcast
This year had different situations that threatened the publicity of large companies. The war in Ukraine drove up energy costs and also high inflation ranging from automobiles to vegetables. This was compounded by rising interest rates, which pushed stock prices lower. All these factors make the business more costly to run.
In the face of this, companies are seeking to become conservative in the face of uncertainty. Cutting back on advertising is one of the first measures adopted and affects social networks. Marketing is often in the sights of companies with cutbacks, as are personnel or investment operations. We are facing the possibility of fewer advertising dollars in the marketplace flowing into digital media, social networks and traditional media. However, we are not in a position to say that the advertising market has collapsed, but we can say that it is shaky. Max Willens, senior analyst at eMarketer, explains that:
“The uncertainty that people talked about as an abstraction for most of 2022 is really just beginning.”
The particular problems of podcasting
The podcast world should not suffer to the extreme, barring a total economic disaster. The problem is that the industry has been operating under the assumption that growth in this world will continue to be as strong as it has been for the past several years. In 2023, eMarketer estimates an increase in advertising revenues for podcasting.
We are talking about a growth rate very similar to what happened in 2022. However, those numbers are almost half of what was experienced in 2021. And, looking ahead, it would fall by about ten points by 2024. Willens understands that “you see in the media that it has been proven to be quite incorrect.”