Podcasting Augers ‘Connoisseur Cultures,’ Says Starcom

Podcasting will give marketers the opportunity to niche-target a new set of “connoisseur cultures,” according to a new report from Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG). But user sensitivities around advertising in the medium mean sponsorship and content integration are better models than straight advertising.

In the report, called “SMG Next Report 3.0: The Power of Podcasting,” the Publicis unit declares what many have speculated, namely that podcasting will help accelerate the rise of niche audiences with common interests, which SMG calls connoisseur cultures.

“With branding involvement, a symbiotic relationship can develop where podcasting delivers quality offerings, with branding woven throughout, effectively reaching niche audiences,” writes MediaVest USA’s Kendra Hatcher, an author of the report.

But SMG also warns podcast audiences will be sensitive to ads, saying key marketing opportunities lie in non-interruptive models such as program integration, sponsorship, and Web content integration.

“Just like early gamers, podcast users are looking for control and ad avoidance in their media experiences,” writes Starcom USA’s Fletcher Whitwell in the report. “Using these methods, advertisers will have the ability to target soon-to-be-developed niche audiences in different ways.”

The report compares the likely growth cycle of podcasting to that of video games, saying it would initially skew toward 15- to 30-year-old males. But it cautions against neglecting the multicultural marketing opportunity with podcasting. SMG singled out the Hispanic community, calling the prospects for reaching a Latin audience “as bright as the outlook for the general market.”

The report was issued by SMG Next, Starcom’s incubator unit. Rishad Tobaccowala is president of that unit, as well as Publicis’ chief innovation officer.

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