As the Radio has become just a part of vintage tales, characteristic of a time long forgotten, audio content is making an amazing comeback. From podcasts making their way into the bustling lives of long-distance commuters to audiobooks becoming just the pal folks at home need to get by life.

In a recently conducted survey, it was found that a whopping 68 million Americans listen to multiple podcasts every week. But is audio content back for the long run? The answer depends entirely on its adaptability.

One of the ways that audio content has developed to become more suitable to audiences today is by condensing to form what we know as - Short Podcasts. According to Anchor.FM, a leading beginner-friendly platform for podcast creation, over 60 percent of the podcasts on the platform are short podcasts.

But before we begin to understand this explosion of short-form audio content, we must understand exactly what the word ‘Short Podcast’ entails.

💁🏼 What Are Short Podcasts?

Short Podcasts are bite-sized versions of a traditional podcast and an episode can range from anywhere between 2 to 10 minutes long. In this article by the Megaphone Podz, the writer Luke Riley writes about the contracting lengths of podcasts.

Even explores the reason behind this new phenomenon in this insightful piece. The purpose of such short-form audio content is to be tempting, binge-able, and well, easy to produce.

Because let’s face it, whether you are an individual podcaster or a brand, production is a hefty task. It takes a lot of effort to edit out the sound of your infant yelping for a change of diapers.

💁🏼 Who is producing them?

A new idea like short podcasts may seem whacky but the fact should not blind you from seeing its promise. Short-form audio content is one of the biggest up-and-coming trends in podcast creation.

From Radio Headspace for people who need a little dose of Zen in their day to Chompers, a dental hygiene podcast for kids. Short-form audio content has made a mark across genres.

From content in the food niche like the Food in Five podcast to even, crypto!

Short-form audio content is rising in popularity. Companies like Spokenlayer, having raised millions of dollars are helping clients like WSJ to Verizon craft customized bite-sized content.

Even news coverages have made appearances in this novel format like WBUR’s Coronavirus Briefly which is a segment that covers news and updates related to COVID-19 as a part of the WBURS Citrus Project.

💁🏼 Why Short-Form Audio?

It is well established that podcasts are hugely popular and should be a part of every brand’s content strategy. In the year 2020, over 900,000 new podcasts were produced worldwide. And 2021 saw a huge spike in podcasts with episode lengths of 2-5 minutes.

In the year 2021, it has been speculated that marketers will spend a massive sum of $1.33 billion on podcast ads.

Post the pandemic as people get used to life without lockdown and offline meetings with professional clothes below the waist, time will run out and people will get busy. Short podcasts then will be the way to retain or acquire listenership for both existing and new podcasters or brands.

Over the course of the pandemic, one of the most recurring topics around content creation was the contraction of human attention span and how video content is adapting to this fresh human tendency resulting in the rise in fame of shorter and more binge-able video content.

When platforms like TikTok and Vine started off, they did so with a reputation of being a YouTube spin-off with shorter videos but they have grown to be immensely successful. The gain in traction of short podcasts then should be no surprise.

💁🏼 What keeps brands from producing short podcasts?

There can be many reasons for reluctance when it comes to putting out short-form content in say podcasts wherein the masses are more accustomed to longer episodes. But the major reasons why people hold back from producing short-form audio content are:

📈 Already have a regular podcast with an active listenership

In this case, short-form podcasts can be a great way for brands to complement their existing podcasts. Vox for example has an active listenership for its podcasts like Today, Explained.

Recently Vox came out with a quick and stimulating micro cast called, Vox Quick Hits which is a daily consumerism and culture podcast with episodes less than 15 minutes long.

This complementary venture not only helps Vox retain the audience that keeps growing busier but even expands it by increasing the online footprint of the company.

Limited Time and production concerns

Starting a fully-fledged podcast sounds intimidating and a short podcast seemingly requires less investment and production time. However, this notion can be misleading. Starting a podcast short or otherwise is a huge deal. It can take anywhere between 1.5 hours to weeks to produce high-quality content and all that it entails. Manual production is tedious and that is well established. Editing alone takes 3x the time required for recording. With short podcasts, reduction in production cost and time is not nearly as much as one would imagine. There’s a lot that goes into podcasts from, scripting, recording (with the right equipment), editing to publishing. For people looking to start short-form audio content creation while being stuck in a time crunch, AI can be a huge help.

💁🏼 How can AI be used to ease the production process?

Platforms like Deepsync can help produce high-quality content with text-to-speech conversion, editing, and other post-production tasks with just a script. Deepsync employs the use of voice cloning technology to emulate your voice and mannerisms producing synthetic audio. Deepsync takes care of the entirety of production so that brands can focus just on the quality of content.

What does this do for your brand? Save time and money, reduce effort and eliminate the need for the cyclic process of re-takes and editing. A synthetic voice for your audio content will ensure control, reasonable cost, and time.

However, there are a lot of concerns that accompany the blossoming of this new technology such as the persistent fear that arises with the dialogue around digital and synthetic voice, audio cloning, deep fakes, etc.

The ethics of it are put under a microscope and the reaction, blown out of proportion. However, we at Deepsync believe that short-form audio is indeed the future and embrace it in our attempt to empower content creators with privacy-first design.

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