Young people think the BBC is stuffy – but podcasts are changing this!

Young people are the future of podcasts and the BBC are getting there first

"Podcasts are becoming mainstream"

George Mullen (Research Manager, Podcast and Radio, BBC, UK) & Pete Zazulka (Head of Audience Planning for Radio, BBC, UK) started their presentaiton on "The UK Podcast Audience – How Under 35s Listen" with some figures on podcast listening from the UK. 

  • 10% growth of listeners per year in the UK, 5.9m weekly podcast listeners (RAJAR).
  • 14% of people are listening to podcasts on smartphones in the UK.
  • 50% of listeners to weekly podcasts are 15+
  • 3.5m listen to podcasts each week but no BBC speech radio (Midas 2018)

Young listeners are looking for speech content but they are looking for this content in other places than the BBC. It’s difficult to change the perception of the BBC with young people – Stuffy! So how do the BBC get insights from young audiences; sound checks, youth panels and qualitative surveys. Through this research the BBC have discovered the following about young podcast listeners;

Young people want a conversation. They want people who sound like them; collaborative, lively, fresh and spontaneous. So how do you script this? Young people don’t like to feel like something is scripted.

Young people are diverse. Be aware that there needs to be content for all types of young audiences.

Young people are picky. There are over half a million different podcasts available, audiences are used to picking and choosing, young people especially.

Two focuses when creating a podcast are how to get young people to listen to an episode and then how do you get them to listen again. How do you get listeners stay to the end of a programme?

“Young audiences don’t come back” podcasts need to get it right at the start of the podcast and attract them to listen again.

Young people are always striving. Therefore educational content is important to the young market especially if they feel it is helping them to get ahead.

“Content which shapes you as a person” is a key concept.

Young people want to let off stream. “Podcasts should be fun or take them on a dramatic roller coaster”.

Young people are reserved. There is an assumption with young people that podcast listening is for older people as podcasts are ‘not perceived as mainstream”.

Hosts are perceived as hugely important to young people, Youtube talent is especially important. Young people want to feel the host can teach them something and or is an expert in a specific area.

This presentation finished with another look at the challenges faced in creating a conversation with young people through podcasts.“Keep talking to your audience”.