Rising new medium:
is rapidly gaining ground
These days, it’s hard to imagine the media landscape without podcasts. A report on DPG Media’s digital audio activities, written during a trip from Denmark to Belgium, by way of the Netherlands.
Iwan Reuvekamp (49)
audio & voice innovation manager in 2021, now interim programme director at Qmusic Netherlands.
In a way, it’s fitting that this trip starts in Denmark. “Denmark is one of those countries where they never had the best radio network,” says Iwan Reuvekamp, who until recently served as DPG Media’s audio & voice innovation manager. “And that certainly has its advantages. Because in countries where radio coverage leaves a lot to be desired, podcasts are more likely to gain ground.”
It’s therefore no surprise that Denmark has already established an impressive podcasting culture over the past decade. “In the Netherlands and Belgium, podcasts haven’t yet reached the masses. The situation in Denmark is different: listening density is high.”
“The Danish audio app should serve as an example for the Benelux”
The company 24syv, for instance – which is now fully owned by DPG Media – delivers customised news through a special audio app. Users who upload their data and specify some preferences can listen to a 5-, 10- or 20-minute news bulletin specially tailored to their profile. The 24syv app also offers a wide range of podcasts. “That’s turned out to be a huge draw,” Reuvekamp says. “We’re working hard to create a special audio experience like that for our news brands in the Benelux as well, supported by our colleagues in Denmark.”
Last year, DPG Media’s Danish podcasts (from Berlingske, B.T., Weekendavisen and Euroinvestor) were downloaded 35 million times, which is especially impressive considering the fact that Denmark has a population of ‘only’ 5.8 million. “That’s why it’s so inspiring to see what’s happening there.”
Millionaer Klubben | The Millionaires Club (Euroinvestor)
Very popular podcast about investing in stocks and cryptos, including investment tips and analysis of annual figures.
Søren Franks Vinkaelder |
Søren Frank’s Wine Cellar (Berlingske)
Weekly podcast in which Søren Frank and Søren Jacobsen Damm pick the best wines to pair with various foods, like oysters or game.
The Reporters (24syv)
A bold and inquisitive morning programme that sends out reporters every day to check the claims made by those in power.
But even in Denmark, podcasts aren’t very profitable yet. As we cross the border into the Netherlands, Reuvekamp says: “There too, people are still searching. Podcasting has a high penetration level in Denmark, and there are plenty of good long-term deals with advertisers, so it’s not like companies are losing money on digital audio there. In that respect, Denmark is ahead of the Netherlands and Belgium.”
But the Benelux is also starting to see commercial partnerships, leading to sponsored and branded podcasts. Moving forward, Sales will also be looking for opportunities to tell stories together with commercial partners.
Podcasts still have only a tenth of the listenership share that radio has, but our research shows that the medium is rapidly gaining ground, especially on mobile. Moreover, podcast listeners consume much more audio than traditional radio listeners.
All in all, 21 million Dutch podcast episodes were downloaded last year. Across DPG Media, 160 different podcasts were produced for the Dutch market. The current offering can be divided into three categories: Today, This Week and Timeless. “Where the first two are fleeting and impermanent, the latter is not. You start with the first episode and then listen to all five, six or seven, like binging a Netflix series. By bundling these podcasts – like you would with printed media at a newsstand – you create value.”
DPG Media plans to create more content like this. Audionize expert teams, of four people each, have been set up especially for this purpose in both Belgium and the Netherlands. “They will focus on development, storytelling, recording and editing, receiving input from DPG Media reporters with expertise in their respective fields.”
De Deventer moordzaak | The Deventer Murder Case (de Stentor)
Why, twenty years later, is the Deventer murder case still shrouded in mystery? A four-part hit series with 540,000 downloads.
Een soort god | A Kind of God (Volkskrant, Audionize)
Over the span of seven episodes, Volkskrant journalists Simone Eleveld and Anneke Stoffelen investigate how sensible people can end up in a cult.
Tweakers podcast | Tweakers Podcast (Tweakers)
There’s so much more to talk about when it comes to things like space telescopes and smartwatches. This podcast gives tech the in-depth treatment it deserves.
In Belgium, we’re joined by Steve Van den Audenaerde, who heads up the new Audionize team in Belgium. Recently, they developed the podcast series The Crown Witnesses, with input from VTM News and Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN), among others.
Van den Audenaerde acknowledges that Belgium has some catching up to do. “With the exception of a few isolated productions, virtually no title has made a strong strategic commitment to podcasting. There are projects started by individual employees here and there, but because of the lack of a cohesive strategy ideas sometimes end up dying on the vine.”
Some existing podcasts are set to return with new episodes. “And we’ll also be making podcasts geared towards television – shows that support TV programmes or further explore certain topics.”
In Belgium too, podcasting has the potential to become an established medium. “Research has shown that podcasts in Belgium are particularly popular among young adults. That’s a very interesting demographic.”
“Moreover, podcast listeners consume much more audio than traditional radio listeners”
Freek blijft slapen | Freek Sleeps
What’s it like inside the homes of Flemish celebrities? News anchor Freek Braeckman sleeps over and finds out.
Duidelijk | Clear
Once a week, journalists and experts bring clarity to the news stories that matter.
De Kroongetuigen | The Crown Witnesses (HLN and VTM, Audionize)
Thrilling murder cases, adapted from a popular TV documentary series.