After short videos, podcasts are finally here

   In the post-Internet traffic era, a hidden and niche track is emerging.

  "If Liang Qichao is here now, he will definitely be a podcaster." In 2019, Xu Zhiyuan said when he was a guest on the podcast show "Sudden Left Sudden Right".

  Nowadays, podcasts, which pay more attention to personalized expression, have become a new output window of choice for many media professionals, scholars, and people who want to express themselves in all walks of life—just like the WeChat official account in the early years. According to data from the podcast search engine Listen Notes, as of July 2022, there are about 47,000 Chinese podcasts, compared with only 2,000 in 2019.

  In recent years, more and more podcast programs have gradually gone out of the circle, gaining the attention of young people, and even the favor of the capital market. Among them, the leading podcast "Da Nei Secret Talk" received millions of angel investment from ONES Ventures in 2018. At the end of the same year, the podcast "Ridan Park", which was started by two anchors of "Ouchi Secret Talk", also received millions of yuan in angel investment from Tou Shi Dao Fund. Several top podcast programs have taken steps towards commercialization one after another, casting a glimmer of hope for the development of podcasts in China.

  Recently, the entry of many well-known brands has brought the domestic podcast market into a small climax.

  On September 5th, Nike launched a Chinese podcast called "Nai Ting" on podcast platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Xiaoyu; the coffee brand "Three and a Half" also launched its own brand podcast "Flying Radio" before, positioning coffee and lifestyle audio programs; GGV Capital launched "Entrepreneurship Insider"; Bubble Mart and Lizhi Podcast jointly produced "POP TOY RADIO"; even the pharmaceutical company Pfizer has its own podcast program "Pfizer Express ".

  Although podcasting is still a minority choice that is difficult to monetize and has a small audience compared to other media forms, capital and brand giants are now paying attention to this media channel. Does this mean that the spring of podcasting entrepreneurs is coming soon?

podcaster, podcast soul

  The ear economy is gradually recovering, and more people have discovered the value of podcasts.

  Personal characteristics, unique content, and long-term companionship make podcasts highly irreplaceable. "The New Yorker" once commented that, as a deeply intimate medium, podcasts can slowly build stories and form an emotional atmosphere.

  When more and more people discover the interesting features of podcasting, personal podcasting businesses have ushered in a golden age. Some people even jokingly say that podcasting is becoming a re-employment testing ground for media professionals.

  For example, Guo Xiaohan came to Beijing as a music reporter after graduating from university, accompanied many new bands to grow up, and later became a senior music critic. She and friends in the industry who are planning for record companies and have many years of experience in the music industry, Xiangzheng, He Yu, and Li Zhiming, who are eager to express themselves, unconsciously chatted about their common experiences in the past, and discussed the development and changes of the music industry from a third perspective. , mixed with laughter and cursing. At one point, they proposed to record these "ridiculous conversations" about life in the present, so that they could listen to them when they were old.

  So the music podcast program "Da Nei Secret Talk" was launched in June 2013, based on the works to talk about the stories and experiences of musicians, and then gradually developed podcast columns such as "Listen to Baibai", "Song of Four Seasons", and "Song of Time". "Da Nei Secret Talk" attracts more independent music vertical audiences in the pan-cultural content field.

  "Da Nei Jing Tan" won the Apple's Best New Podcast Award at the end of 2013. It officially became a commercial project in 2017. In 2018, it received millions of angel investment from ONES Ventures until the 1,000th on July 10 this year. It was launched in the first period, and the listening volume has reached 4 million.

  The success of "Ouchi Secret Talk" has given a shot of chicken blood to media professionals who want to do podcasts. Xu Tao, who has many years of experience as a journalist, began to try podcasting in 2016. He successively launched "Silicon Valley Strikes the West" and "Silicon Valley Early Knowing" on Podcasts, telling business stories through the sound medium.

  Three years later, Xu Tao's podcast program has accumulated a large number of listeners who are concerned about business, so he established a sound and lively audio production company, and successfully obtained the investment of Guangjian Lab, officially taking the step of commercialization.

  In addition to receiving capital attention and support for personal podcast programs, more and more brands are willing to sponsor and cooperate, and this has become the main commercial realization channel for personal podcast programs.

  For example, the narrative podcast "Story FM" founded by Kou Aizhe, who has worked in the traditional media industry for 7 years, has captured a large number of listeners with the true and bizarre stories told by those who have experienced it. In 2019, "Story FM" was selected as Apple's best podcast of 2019, and the current average broadcast volume on the whole network has exceeded 1.5 million.

  Today, "Story FM", which has been in operation for five years, established a company last year and received the first round of financing. It has transformed from a podcast editorial department into an enterprise, and frequently creates story programs with brands. For example, we worked with Airbnb to create a program called "Opening the Door to the World", which tells the story of three homestay operators who choose to open their homes to the world in order to enhance their understanding of the world. Stories about self-knowledge.

  Such customized content, customized advertising programs, and the creation of brand podcasts are the main monetization methods of "Story FM".

  On the one hand, the attention of capital, on the other hand, the favor of brand cooperation, making podcasting is becoming a new blue ocean for content entrepreneurs. There is no doubt that when the content becomes sticky and the traffic pool gradually expands, podcasting will gradually enter the right track of commercialization just like the WeChat official account back then.

Brands "go down" to do podcasts

  In addition to the successful practice of top personal podcast programs, podcasts have also become one of the media channels that major brands need to lay besides official accounts and short video platforms.

  The industry media "Podcast Chronicle" released a statistics on brand podcasts in the field of Chinese podcasts in August this year. A total of 58 companies have their own Chinese brand podcasts, and the two main camps are new consumer brands and brands from all walks of life. Head enterprises.

  These leading companies from the fields of technology, medicine, finance, etc., such as Feishu, Pfizer, BASF, Huatai Securities, etc., have begun to integrate some professional industry knowledge into audio content through the medium of podcasts.

  Why does the brand party end up doing podcasting in person? First of all, from the analysis of the consumer group, according to the "PodFest China 2020 Chinese Podcast Audience and Consumption Survey", the Chinese listeners who love to listen to podcasts are all 22-35 years old, mainly living in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other new first-tier cities Highly educated singles . Such a group portrait coincides with the target users of new consumer brands and leading companies.
  Second, podcasts are a good way to help brands with cultural precipitation. In-depth brand content topics can output brand values ​​and concepts to users through the discussion of various in-depth social issues, so as to establish a more three-dimensional brand awareness in the hearts of users.
  But not every company is well versed in how to make podcasts. How to perfectly embed brand concepts into light-hearted and in-depth topics, and how to make a podcast program exquisite and attractive are things that brand owners are not good at. , which spawned the podcast programming contractor business.
  In 2018, Cheng Yanliang, who was still working as a part-time podcaster, ran his own original podcast "Sudden Left Sudden Right". He invited writers, scholars and journalists he knew around him to chat about history, news, and the international situation.
  "After hearing my podcast, many foreign Internet companies will come to ask me if I can help them make a corporate podcast and let me be their producer." Cheng Yanliang told us that after realizing this need, he established podcast and digital audio The company JustPod, through the commercialization of podcasts for enterprises, feeds back the incubation and operation of original podcasts.
  Subsequently, JustPod assisted GGV Capital to produce a business interview podcast "Entrepreneurship Insider". Lily, vice president of marketing at GGV, recalled that at that time, the VC competition environment was fierce, and GGV wanted to increase its brand leverage. Prior to this, GGV’s English podcasts had a good dissemination effect, and the official account has become a standard for brand communication, but the cost of video production is too high, so they naturally took a fancy to the podcasts, which were still in their infancy at the time.
  According to Cheng Yanliang, JustPod also helped Dafang Studio under CITIC Publishing Group to produce the Chinese literature podcast "Island Jumping FM", which is now the leading brand in the literature podcast category. "This IP is even more famous than Dafang Studio itself." Cheng Yanliang said.
  As brands continue to try to participate, podcasts have gradually become a distribution channel. So far, JustPod has participated in the production of more than 30 original and corporate brand podcasts, including the recently launched Chinese brand podcast "Nai Ting" under Nike.
  However, compared with the enthusiasm of the brands, the prosperity of the domestic podcast market seems to have not yet reached the industry's expectations.
  "Domestic Internet companies have all experienced the rise of official accounts and short videos. When a new field emerges, they all want to seize the high ground and get the dividends of traffic." Cheng Yanliang said, but judging from the current volume, podcasts are still Far from reaching the critical point of breaking the circle.
  This can be seen from the quotes of the podcast and the perception of the brand. Cheng Yanliang revealed that although the broadcast volume of podcasts has gradually caught up with short videos and official accounts, the actual quotation is still not at the same level as short videos, pictures and texts.
  "Many people think that the production of audio programs is very simple, but good content requires investment, just like feature articles." Cheng Yanliang said that the domestic podcast industry still needs more high-quality program producers to join in to promote the commercial value of the industry transform.
  Obviously, in terms of industrial development, podcasting is still in the pioneering stage in China. There is no established upstream and downstream industrial chain, and there are no large-scale content suppliers, industry media and industry organizations. In terms of content production, UGC (user Production content) is the mainstream, and the commercial monetization channel is single.
  But from another point of view, when capital hot money and PGC (professional production content) have not entered the market in large quantities, and the Matthew effect has not really formed, it is the most suitable time to enter the market.
  Compared with China, the podcast industry in North America has been booming in recent years.
  In 2019, Spotify acquired three podcast companies, including Gimlet, and the Pulitzer Prize Committee also announced that it would add an "Audio Reporting" award.
  In 2020, the production company of the American phenomenon-level podcast "Serial" was acquired by the "New York Times". In the same year, Spotify spent US$200 million to sign a three-and-a-half-year contract with The Joe Rogan Experience, the top American podcast, marking an unprecedented level of investment by the audio giant in podcasting.
  The podcasting market in North America also shows the potential for high ROI. According to a report by the American research institute IAB, the national podcast market revenue will exceed US$1.4 billion in 2021, an increase of 72%. Among them, advertising still accounts for the main part of revenue, reaching 75%.
  At present, although the domestic podcast industry has not reached the magnitude and popularity of the North American podcast market, it has already shown imaginative market space and value.
  It’s just that as a form of content with little explicit value, podcasting is destined to be a slow business, which requires long-term precipitation, cultivation of market cycles, and exploration of business monetization models before it can truly serve as a form of media that is comparable to short videos, pictures, etc. Wen and other channels are on par.



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