From Publishing Perspectives:
In its online program Wednesday (June 24) on the state and prospects for audio publishers and other players in the world industry, the mood was upbeat, the presentations ran smoothly, and the audience was offered a lot to think about.
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As is frequently the case in these events, the statistical data, which necessarily needs to be programmed first, was probably the most interesting, particularly in a topic like audio, which holds a fond spot in the hopes of many in publishing. As we reported in our advance story, Dosdoce’s Javier Celaya came bearing just the gifts of a glowing future for audio that many enjoy hearing (and understandably so).
In addition to his estimates we’ve already reported—a global audio market growing 25 percent by January 1 and being worth US$25 billion by 2030—Celaya had many key points to bring forward.
For example, his research shows that subscription streaming services are growing more quickly in markets outside the United States than in. Of Netflix’s roughly 200 million subscribers, for example, only some 60 million, he said—about a third—are in the States.
He also brought forward a key point for many publishers to consider in how they think of streaming content consumers: Two-thirds of them, he said, hare happy to “stream only,” rather than downloading. This continues a trend, of course, that can be traced back to the Kindle ecosystem and earlier evocations of ebook technology in which the reader-consumer never actually owns a book–she or he is licensing a copy. Ownership has progressively become less important in many markets and there are generational aspects to this as well as the simple fact that so much entertainment of so many kinds today is available.
Celaya’s talk set up the two-pronged approach for the whole program: In essence, for publishing’s interests, all audio is divided into two parts, audiobooks and podcasts. And in a key difference between the podcast-noisy States and the rest of the world, American podcast revenues, he said, tend to be advertising-based while in Europe, paid subscriptions are more frequently the income source.
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- Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, the States, Argentina, Canada, and Australia appear to be leading in driving podcast growth. Both in audiobooks and podcasts, Celaya says, as much as 70-percent is backlist. “More mature” markets in terms of audio, can handle longer listening times, he says, the English-language markets being amenable to 8- to 10-hour audiobooks, and something closer to 4- to 6-hour book lengths in other cultures.
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- Binging is a factor, he said, and in podcasts that means listening to three or more episodes in a row or, with an audiobook, doing 90 or more of listening in a sitting.
- Smart-speaker technology such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home are a factor in families’ and children’s listening.
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- Celaya made a point that’s dear to the hearts of journalists but should be important to publishers, too: transcripts are important in audio work because they make audio “visible” for search engines. When transcripts are made through automated means, human editing is important, but transcripts raise the discoverability of audio content markedly.
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives