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What do listeners want from UK podcasts in 2018? And how can brands best operate in this intimate audio space? Those are the questions Hook Research set out to answer in our new research into the UK podcast market.

This research began with a series of conversations: chats with some of the biggest audio brands in the UK about their questions, worries, and hopes for this audio upstart. From there we spoke to podcast fans around the country to determine the key ingredients of successful pods, and what audiences liked (and disliked) about big brands creating podcasts of their own.

Curious to see what we found out? Download the full report below!

UK Podcasts in 2018

Here’s a little teaser about some of the things we found:

UK Podcasts in 2018 offer a human, intimate medium

There are a few stand out aspects of UK podcasts in 2018.

Possibly the most distinctive trait which sets them apart from other mediums is their human-centricity. Even those that deal with nominally non-human stories (Brexit, bitcoin, online porn) work best when they provide a human context – S-Town is considered the superlative example of this kind of storytelling from the last year.

Listeners also enjoy the intimate feel of podcasts and liken the listening experience to having a conversation with friends in the pub. Although these podcasts might be broadcast to millions of people each week (looking at you Pod Save America), respondents feel that hosts are speaking directly to them.

Obviously, this intimacy generates a fair amount of trust between the listener and the host – a trait offering a powerful opportunity for brands working in the podcast space.

Listeners are excited by pods’ transition to TV but they also have their concerns…

If you haven’t heard the news, podcasts such as Pod Save America, 2 Dope Queens and Lore (just commissioned for a second season) are heading for the small screen.

This is something that excites listeners on the whole. They believe that the involvement of known and loved production companies will strengthen their connections with the pods, creating new and different ways for them to engage with well-loved content.

At the same time, listeners are hoping that big brand partners (such as HBO and Amazon) will funnel money into the programmes, resulting in high quality programmes and polished final products!

But there are some concerns as well…

Despite listeners’ excitement for this transition, they also worry that the depth (a hallmark of the medium) will be lost in the small screen. Because it is expensive to make a TV show, will podcasters have time to explore issues at great length? We can’t imagine that Dan Carlin’s 19 hour discussion of WWI in Hardcore History, for instance, would make it onto TV in its current form.

There’s additional fear that production companies will aim to create content which pleases a wider, mass-market sensibility and – ultimately – lose the sense of intimacy that is so important for the medium.

There’s a fine line that this cross-platform content will have to tread – but fans are staying hopeful.

UK podcasts in 2018 can be associated with big brands… but there are caveats

In general, listeners think that podcasts are a natural avenue for media brands to explore.

Young people, in particular, have grown up amid the wash of content marketing, and are skeptical of brands who try to break into the content market. Yet stories are media brands’ stock and trade and so podcasts are felt to be a more natural next step.

For non-media brands this is a different story.

Pod listeners find it hard to escape the feeling that anything created by brands is just another kind of content marketing. They don’t think of faceless brands as natural partners for intimate, human media products and there is also a feeling that big brands can feel out of place in the ‘craft’ world of podcasts.

Yet there are ways that brands can operate in this space in a profitable way… You’ll just have to read our report to find out how!

Download Hook’s UK Podcasts in 2018 Report now

Each month, Hook's experts create a roundup of hot takes and insights into the Kids and Media industries... for free!

This information will never be shared with third parties.

Each month, Hook's experts create a roundup of hot takes and insights into the Kids and Media industries... for free!

This information will never be shared with third parties.