India’s audio market is undergoing a renaissance as music streaming and podcasting take off, giving brands new opportunities to reach consumers and to target them more closely based on factors such as mood and interests.

According to Neeraj Roy, MD of Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, the 250 million people currently streaming will more than double over the next five years to around 600 million – with music the highest consumed category on digital platforms.

“Consumers [are] spending five-six hours monthly on streaming services in India, which is set to multiply to 20 hours” over the same period, he told Exchange4Media – and almost half of that is regional content.

This is being driven by a combination of factors, including smartphone penetration and low data costs, while the entry this year of global player Spotify has given the market an added boost; the platform has just launched its first TV campaign – based around its tagline ‘there’s a playlist for that’ – featuring Bollywood A-lister Anil Kapoor and being run in four languages.

Spotify MD Amarjit Singh Batra told Afaqs! that “overall, the numbers are great” with most traffic coming from the major metros, “but we have started noticing traction in tier II and tier III cities as well”.

He expects the revenue mix between subscription and advertising, which sits at 90:10 globally, to skew more heavily to advertising in India.

Brands can tap into the personalisation and discovery options digital streaming offers, noted Tarun Katial, CEO of ZEE5 India: “If music can map the mood of the brand and is topical to the mood of the consumer, there is a confluence point between the consumer and the brand that can add a lot of value.”

Podcasting is being driven by many of the same factors as music streaming, with the additional element of talk. Podcasting “filled a big content category that was missing on radio,” Kavita Rajwade, co-founder of the IVM podcast platform, told The Hindu. “What we’re doing is like Radio 10.0.”

Conversation shows cover a wide range of topics – including humour, food, politics, sports, business, entertainment, wellbeing – and these are increasingly being made in regional languages.

Podcast aggregator Hubhopper, for example, has just partnered with system app business Indus OS to make it easier for smartphone users to discover and consume podcasts in the language of their choice.

“Indians have been listening to audio narratives and stories for decades,” noted Hubhopper CEO Gautam Raj Anand. “The only thing that is new to us is the word ‘podcast’.”

Sourced from Exchange4Media, Afaqs!, The Hindu, The Drum; additional content by WARC staff