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Podcasts: The future of storytelling

AME has secured the SA rights for Wondery podcasts, the world’s largest independent podcast producer.
The strength of digital is that everything can be measured. Image: Shutterstock

The latest PwC Media Outlook report forecasts that the South African podcast market will double to 19 million monthly listeners by 2024. Podcasts have proven to be the fastest growing sector of media consumption, enabling the digital migration of media (audio) brands.

This year, African Media Entertainment (AME) is continuing/enhancing its embrace of the digital revolution by securing the South African rights for Wondery podcasts, the world’s largest independent podcast producer.

Dave Tiltmann, chief executive of AME, says: “This expansion into audio consumption on demand comes at a critical point for the group as our core commercial radio business is extremely healthy. OFM and Algoa FM dominate their respective markets, [and] the Moneyweb digital platform has maintained its status in the financial media space for years.”

Growing popularity

According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019, one person in every five uses podcasts to keep up to date with politics and current affairs, while approximately 19% of respondents have interests in specialist or lifestyle podcasts.

“Covid sped up the migration to digital almost overnight,” says Tiltmann.

“Everywhere in the world people are spending more time using digital devices. Where other media types are struggling to adapt to the digital world, it is a natural progression for radio.

“Where terrestrial radio stations are bound by their transmitter networks, the digital space allows us to reach listeners wherever they are, and whenever they want to tune in.”

Twenty of Wondery’s podcast shows have reached number one on Apple Podcasts, while being the only publisher to have simultaneously claimed the number one and number two Top New Podcasts slots on the annual Podtrac ranker.

Immersive approach

Declan Moore, head of International at Wondery, says: “We’ve been delighted with the response of South African listeners to our immersive storytelling approach including this month’s ‘The Apology Line’ which remains in the Apple Podcast charts top 10, and our always-on show ‘Business Wars’ which continues to dominate the business charts.”

AME’s radio platforms include Algoa FM, OFM and Classic 1027, while its digital, publishing and marketing services include MediaHeads 360, Moneyweb, Mahareng, Digital Platforms, Central Media Group and sales house United Stations.

“After a lifetime in radio, we believe in the power of great storytelling,” says Rivak Bunce, managing director of United Stations. “We are excited about the opportunity to create a space where our advertisers can benefit from the incredible emotional engagement that is typical of the podcasting environment.”

Furthermore, Wondery has perfected the art of working with advertisers and brands to strategically place adverts within the podcasts.

According to AME’s Chris Borain, advertisers will now be able to speak directly to their target audiences through United Stations’ collaboration with Wondery. “The strength of digital is that you can measure everything, which means that your advertising can be very focused,” says Borain.

In addition to providing compelling advertising through their collaboration with Wondery, AME is utilising the strength of its audio experts by enabling media brands to produce their own podcasts, which will be distributed through the AME network.

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