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How Different Audiences are Responding to Video Podcasts


How Different Audiences are Responding to Video Podcasts

With video podcasting’s momentous rise in popularity, Riverside’s Annual Report dives deeper into this impactful medium. As the 4th of an 11-part series, this article discusses audience reactions to video.

What’s in it for me?

By the end of this section, you’ll have key insights on the following points:

  • How audiences are resonating with Interview-Style video podcasts
  • How audiences are resonating with Solo-Speaker video podcasts
  • How audiences are resonating with High-Production video podcasts

There are an endless number of formats, concepts, and setups that a podcast could use. And with video’s impact in the industry accelerating, there’s reason to believe this will continue to evolve.

Of all the options for formatting a company podcast, there are 3 most commonly used:

Interview-Style, Solo Speaker, and High Production.

In this section, we’ll discuss each and the impact that video can have on them.

Audiences of Interview-Style Shows

What is an interview-style show?

This is the most common form of video podcast that exists. In fact, more than 44% of surveyed companies stated that they use this style of show.

An interview-based show includes a host (or multiple hosts) and a guest (or multiple guests). The episodes tend to be focused around a guest’s answers to the host’s questions. The guest can be an expert in a subject matter, or simply an interesting person telling a story.

These podcasts can vary greatly in length, from 15-minutes to several hours (a la Tim Ferriss).

Here are some pros of an Interview-Style video podcast:

  • It opens your podcast up to the guest's audience
  • It lends itself well to clips and shareable content
  • It can be recorded completely remotely with ease
  • It gives the host an opportunity to showcase expertise on a specific topic
  • It allows for diverse perspectives and experiences to be shared
  • It helps companies build relationships and network
  • It helps companies share valuable insights with a larger audience
  • It can increase credibility and authority in a particular subject area

Here are some cons of an Interview-Style video podcast:

  • It relies heavily on finding the right guests who will be engaging
  • It requires a good amount of research to make each interview great
  • It requires working around other people’s schedules

What matters most for followers of interview-style shows?

Audience members who prefer this podcast style are looking for insights and stories. They listen in because of the quality of the host’s questions and the entertainment and education of the guest’s answers.

The best company podcasts know this and optimize around:

  • Having a high-quality host who can ask unique questions
  • Booking differentiated guests with exciting thoughts and experiences

Combining these two elements is a recipe for success for interview-style shows. If audiences can come to rely on your ability to deliver interesting content regularly, they will listen to episodes that don’t even align with their preferred topics.

How is video resonating with these followers?

Video is quickly becoming the preferred method for consuming interview-style podcast episodes. In fact, over 76% of surveyed company podcasts believe video podcasting will be the default for recording within 5 years.

Interview-based shows like My First Million, the Tim Ferriss Show, and the Joe Rogan Experience are gaining tangible traction in recent years. This trend will continue to snowball as more interview-style shows add video components to their existing shows.

Having the option of not only listening to a great conversation but also watching it is extremely appealing to this audience. The addition of body language, facial cues, entertaining on-screen additions, and more make this medium poised to be largely video-based within the next few years.

Audiences of Solo Speaker Shows

What is a solo speaker show?

Many hosts opt to take the quickest path to getting a show live, and that means doing it all themselves. This can be a highly successful way to record a podcast because it puts all control in the host’s hands and doesn’t rely on other dependencies. This format is only used by a reported 19% of company podcasts.

A solo speaker show typically consists of one host guiding the entire episode alone. This often takes the form of a quasi-monologue. It can also entail reporting, stories, and tangential conversations.

Here are some pros of a Solo-Speaker video podcast:

  • The recording and editing processes are typically simpler
  • It helps develop a deep one-on-one connection with your audience
  • It gives the company full control of the story and narrative of the show
  • It allows for companies to dive deep in specific topics without tangents
  • It allows for companies to record and publish on their own timeline without constraint
  • It can increase credibility and authority in a specific subject area rapidly

Here are some cons of a Solo-Speaker video podcast:

  • It gives you no leverage to other people’s audiences
  • The content can often be less engaging with only one participant
  • It puts all the pressure on you to perform well and make the content great

What matters most for followers of solo-style shows?

Connection is the name of the game for this format of show. Audience members follow this show because of the company or host almost exclusively.

Having a one-to-one experience between the host and the audience creates extreme loyalty. And because this format is difficult to pull off engagingly, audiences have deep respect for the hosts who do it.

Audiences are likely looking for unique expertise, new ways of thinking about a topic, or pure entertainment from shows in this style. The host’s ability to deliver deep insights or undeniable joy makes or breaks these shows.

How is video resonating with these followers?

This format is, admittedly, more difficult to make engaging than an interview or high-production type show. The reason is obvious: with only one person on screen, it limits the visual cues and engaging content to look at.

Even still, 19% of surveyed company podcasters have reported that they use a solo-speaker format to record their show.

The ratios of what video podcast formats companies most use

This style of video podcast has room to grow. To reach its full potential, companies and creators need to answer the following questions:

  • How can I make the content more engaging?
  • What visual elements can I add on top of the solo speaker’s audio and video?
  • How can I differentiate from other solo speaker shows?
  • How can I keep audience members watching for long periods
  • What can I incorporate from other styles to make my solo speaker show more compelling and engaging?

Audiences of High-Production Shows

What is a high-production show?

High-production shows can take many shapes. There are shows that rely on reporting and transitions to tell long stories (think true crime podcasts). There are shows that reenact stories with voice overs. There are shows that are essentially talk shows in podcast format.

A high-production show is any show that requires B-roll audio and video and extreme editing to make the podcast compelling.

Here are some pros of a High-Production video podcast:

  • It gives off a professional feel that attracts new listeners more easily
  • It allows companies to tell meaningful stories in a beautiful way
  • It helps companies publish a product that is polished and promotes the brand
  • It aligns with audiences who enjoy thoughtful and unique content experiences
  • It adds a level of shareability do to its inherent unique format
  • It is not easily replicable by other brands or podcasts
  • It attracts top talent who want to work on a high quality show
  • It attracts top guests who feel comfortable associating with the company’s brand

Here are some cons of a High-Production video podcast:

  • It requires much more time than any other style of podcast
  • The process for making great content for audio in this style is much different than making great content for its video counterpart

What matters most for followers of high-production shows?

Fans of high-production shows are looking to be entertained above all. They want to learn new things and explore new stories. They value the storytelling format of these podcasts.

The results this audience is looking for differ from the shows above. In interview-style podcasts, audiences are likely looking to be educated broadly and gain new insights. In solo speaker podcasts, they build a closer connection to the host and look for a specific tone and point of view.

However, audiences for high-production shows are seeking a unique point of view through a more polished lens. 

How is video resonating with these followers?

This is an area where there lies an immense amount of potential, but very few concrete examples of companies currently executing at a high level.

There is a great opportunity for companies willing to visualize their grand storytelling concepts. Audiences will likely flock to this type of content as an escape from overly educational videos.

Read more from the 2023 Riverside Annual Report series:

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