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  • Writer's pictureOlly Hutson

How Will AI Affect the Podcast Industry?

By Olly Hutson

As technology continues to evolve, it is essential for marketers to stay on top of the latest developments in order to remain competitive. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one area that has grown significantly over the past few years, and its potential implications for the podcast industry cannot be overlooked, especially with the recent popularity of free tool ChatGPT. In this post, we’ll discuss how AI might shape podcasting in the coming years and provide some actionable tips so that media buyers can benefit from these ongoing changes. From automation tools, to AI podcast hosts and optimised targeted ads, an increasing number of opportunities will arise as more technologies utilizing AI emerge. Read on as we explore how AI will affect the podcast industry and the impact it has had so far.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how can it be used in Podcasts?

AI makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. Artificial intelligence allows machines to model, or even improve upon, the capabilities of the human mind. You have probably already used AI in your daily life without even realising it. Smart assistants like Siri and Alexa, plus auto-generated captions on social media videos are powered by AI.

With the recent release of Chat GPT (a free AI chatbot capable of producing written content in a range of formats, from essays to code to answering simple questions,) AI has become a tool that everyone with an internet connection can access and leverage. It seems appropriate to put it to the test, so we asked ChatGPT for some podcast ideas, here is the answer:

“How about a podcast where you interview people about their most embarrassing moments? Each episode could feature a different guest sharing a funny and cringe-worthy story from their past, and you could provide commentary and banter throughout.”

Not bad right?!

Looking at how AI can work for the podcast industry specifically, businesses and publishers can dive deeper into consumer behaviour and preferences, delivering personalised experiences that truly resonate with each individual customer. Automated editing, production and transcripting can streamline processes, allowing creatives and marketing staff extra time and fewer wastage. Also, automated translation could open up podcasts in various languages to new markets all over the world.

A study by Gartner predicts that by 2024, AI-generated content will account for 30% of the total content produced by enterprises. (Gartner.)

But it’s not all good news. There are concerns over privacy, algorithmic bias, and the ethical implications of automated decision-making. Plus the obvious - will AI take our jobs? Ultimately, will these AI developments help or hurt the industry?

The Benefits of AI for Podcast Creators

At its best, when used effectively, AI can make manual tasks such as sound editing streamlined and free of human error. The technology can be used at every stage of the podcast creation process, from ideation to recording to editing, reducing the need to use expensive equipment and studio hire. For example, AI editing tools like Adobe’s Enhanced Speech, removes background noise and sharpens voice frequencies, helping any podcaster sound more professional. These developments can also help lower the barrier to enter podcasting, creating more breadth in the industry for diverse, authentic voices that previously may not have had access to the tools that enable them to create podcasts.

Benefits for Podcast Advertisers

As the cost of living crisis tightens audio advertising budgets, media buyers must ensure their placements have the best content and are in the right podcasts to maximise return. We have all listened to ads that have zero relevance for our lifestyle, although we may fit the target audience - for example, a car insurance ad when you don’t drive or burger special deal when you’re a vegetarian.

With the help of AI-powered analytics, advertisers can determine the success of their campaigns in real-time and make adjustments tailored to their audience. This not only leads to a higher return on investment (ROI) but also provides a more personalized listening experience for consumers.

Another function of AI technology is to match advertisers to podcasts that are a great fit from a content or advertising perspective. This process can be lengthy and complex, so this feature has great potential to further enhance the unique podcast ad buy - host-read. Host-read podcast ads achieve 72% brand recall, compared with 62% for non-host-read ads.(Neilson) AI technology could make this compelling stat even stronger for advertisers.

Potential Challenges with AI in Podcasting

Looking at the downsides of AI, there are concerns about job displacement, algorithm bias, and the ethical implications of automated decision-making. It is possible for AI to generate podcast hosts, topics, and dialogue entirely, with this technology only getting better and better. Will this decrease the need for human work in podcasting?

It is possible to generate an AI voice, with technology emerging to model it on your own. This means that people who aren’t keen on recording their voice or perhaps can’t due to a disability, can become podcasters. However, it also means that you may listen to a podcast and feel somewhat cheated or fooled that you aren’t listening to a real human. One of the key selling points of a podcast is the intimate connection that grows between a listener and host, leading many to believe that they can spot an AI host a mile away.

Of course, there are some tasks that AI cannot perform and it does need a person to prompt it correctly, leading to the possibility that AI can’t take your job - but someone who has leaned into the trend and knows how to use AI to increase their accuracy and efficiency, can. Additionally, AI is creating more jobs in areas such as software engineering and data analytics.

Though its capabilities are impressive, AI does come with certain drawbacks. It still must be used carefully and monitored closely to ensure that issues of privacy, accuracy of information, and manipulation do not become a problem for listeners. As with any technology, the key is to utilize them responsibly and with a clear understanding of their limitations. AI can enhance - but not replace human creativity. If you would like assistance in implementing AI into your podcast creation or advertising process, please contact us to learn more.


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