If you asked players in the podcasting ecosystem in India about the top podcasts in India, both in terms of number of listeners and quality of content, this will largely be the list.
- 3 Things by Indian Express
- Cyrus Says by Cyrus Broacha
- Maed in India by Mae Thomas
- My Indian Life by Kalki Kochelin
- Neelesh Misra (a compilation of his work)
- No Filter Neha by Neha Dhupia
- Paisa Waisa by Anupam Gupta
- The Habit Coach by Ashdin Doctor
- The Indian Startup Show by Neil Patel
- The Inspiring Talk by Bijay Gautam
- The Seen and The Unseen by Amit Varma
- Ponniyin Selvin by Kavitha Jeeva
While these range from current affairs to music to Bollywood to personal finance to self-help, seven of these 12 trace their origins back to just one company—Indus Vox Media (IVM), founded by Amit Doshi and Kavita Rajwade in 2015. IVM is a full-stack podcasting company, which means it has a streaming app, in-house production capabilities, and its own intellectual property (IP) shows.
What it lacks is global clout.
The number of monthly podcast listeners in India is expected to jump from 40 million at the end of 2018 to 176.1 million by 2023, according to consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019-2023. Globally, as per Forbes, there are at least 800,000 active podcasts and 54 million episodes in more than 100 languages.
It’s not surprising then that IVM is staring at international streaming industry leaders Amazon and Spotify’s entry in the Indian podcasting market.
Amazon, on 19 December 2019, launched a free podcasting Android app, Audible Suno. Suno started with about 60 shows, with the who’s who of the entertainment business in India. Amitabh Bachchan, Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Neelesh Misra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vir Das, Vicky Kaushal…the list is long. Amazon also tied up with content partners like TVF, OML, Culture Machine, Arre, Terribly Tiny Tales. At the time of publishing, the app has more than 1 million installs.
Just a week later, Spotify announced its more cautious approach to podcasting—originals. Spotify has three originals, and none with Bollywood A-listers.
IVM, meanwhile, has 100+ shows.
IVM’s relationship with these global giants is one of love-hate. On one hand, Amazon and Spotify are direct competition in getting ‘plays’ or the number of times a podcast is heard—as are homegrown music streaming companies like JioSaavn, Gaana—but on the other, IVM relies on these very platforms for distributing its content.
In fact, IVM also partnered over content with some of them.