Apple. It’s seen as a religion in some circles and a way of life in others. To those in the latter group, using products from the tech giant is seen as an exercise in luxury. It doesn’t get much more luxuries than being able to download popular books, listen to music, and watch movies for free. That’s what makes Walmart’s new venture into the world of podcasting so intriguing.
The retail giant is getting into the podcasting game, but instead of selling books and music, it’s going to offer up digital subscriptions to popular podcasts. According to Recode, the online retail giant will start off with four podcasts: Car Talk, Freakonomics, Made in Poland, and Supply and Demand. Now, there are countless reasons why this could be a good idea, but here are just five.
A key reason why this venture makes sense for Walmart is that they have a dedicated audience. The company already streams a variety of content to customers via its Walmart U.S. website, including movies and TV shows. Adding podcasts to the mix could attract a new audience to the platform. And with podcasts historically less lucrative than regular content, this could prove to be a worthwhile venture for the retail giant.
Podcasts can be very location-specific. For example, Car Talk is only available in the U.S. and Freakonomics only in Australia. Making the decision to create a podcast that only a certain geographic region could enjoy would be a massive undertaking, and it would take a lot of work to ensure that everyone in that region can listen to the show. That, however, could be a problem if you’re trying to expand the reach of your podcast beyond what you originally planned. Once you’ve created a podcast that only certain people can enjoy, getting the word out to the rest of the public would be that much harder.
The good thing about having a dedicated audience is that you know exactly who you’re trying to attract. With a TV show or movie, you have to rely on audience segmentation to figure out who’s tuning in and who might walk away thinking that your content wasn’t for them.
Better Than Netflix/Chilling Out With Friends
Since its inception, Netflix has revolutionized how we watch content. Not only does the platform give viewers exactly what they want, it also allows them to watch TV shows and movies whenever they want, wherever they want. The freedom of choosing your own screen time is unmatched by any other platform.
Similarly, the idea of going to friends’ houses and putting on TV shows and movies to watch is as appealing as it is problematic. There’s no telling what could go wrong. Friendships can be complicated enough as it is without adding another person to the mix. Plus, you never know what kind of mood your friends might be in when you visit them. Putting a TV on in the background and hoping for the best is, at best, a gamble and, at worst, an outright disaster.
Getting into the habit of going to the cinema or the TV series every week is something that appeals to many people. It allows them to seek refuge from the stresses of daily life. While that might be appealing during the day, many people find that movies and TV shows can stress them out at night. Having a podcast might be a better option for them as it would allow them to listen to content whenever they want, whether it’s at night or during the day. Better for their mental health, in other words.
More Engagement Than YouTube Watch Videos
In the last year, TikTok has emerged as the king of internet video. With its popular carpooling app, TikTok users can share short-form videos with their friends. As a result, the platform has exploded in popularity, with more than 500 million active users each month. While the idea behind TikTok might be to just have fun and share jokes and light content, users are actually spending more time on the app than they are watching the videos. According to TikTok, users spend an average of 16 minutes a day on the platform, while others say it’s closer to 30 minutes.
Some marketers have already jumped on the opportunity to have video content on TikTok and, if done right, it could be a goldmine. Like most social networks, TikTok allows users to upload content that can be seen by everyone. While that might sound like a good idea in theory, it can also mean that your content could go viral, leading to a wave of fraudulent activity. In addition, many videos on the platform are sponsored or paid for by brands, so it’s important to keep that in mind when measuring the effectiveness of any content. With all the talk of video platforms fading and being replaced by podcasts, it’s clear that whoever comes out on top will be the content creators, the influencers, and the platforms that they use. In the meantime, people are still turning to websites like YouTube to get their fix.
Podcasts And VR Could Form A Greater Connection
It’s long been noted that television commercials have been effective in convincing potential customers to try products and buy certain items due to the way that they are designed. In the same way, digital commercials could work, with a few tweaks.
One of the areas where podcasts and VR could potentially intermingle is by having certain episodes available only in VR. When someone discovers a podcast that they like and then later buys the corresponding book or buys a ticket to see the live performance, that’s a connection that could help accelerate the sale.
The opportunity for virtual retail is huge. Every year, more and more people are turning to VR. A recent report from Juniper Research states that there will be 22.4 million virtual retail transactions in 2021. If you combine VR with the other tech innovations mentioned here, you have the chance to create a completely different kind of shopping experience.
Wal-Mart is at the forefront of this change. In addition to starting a podcasting division, it’s also investing in virtual retailing. In 2021, Walmart is planning to invest around $500 million in VR technology, including headsets, software, and online stores.
Podcasts offer a lot of advantages when it comes to connecting with potential customers, and it’s likely that we’ll start seeing more and more retail outlets exploring the space as a way of expanding their reach to potential customers.
The future of podcasts and online video look incredibly positive. Whether you’re a business owner or marketer, you can’t afford to not be exploring new ways to engage with customers online. And what better way to attract and retain customers than by offering them content that interests them, whether that’s video, audio, or a combination of both?