How Podcasts and YouTube programs are disrupting Jamaica’s media

More Jamaicans of influence are using social media as a means to connect with friends, find products, customers and build new networks for their brands and businesses. Musicians, especially are finding social media to be a useful tool in promoting their music and brands. However, Podcasting and YouTube programming are turning the cell phone into a fully functional media entity.

In the last six months, there has been over fifty podcasts launched by Jamaicans, many of whom were trained at the Top Form Podcast Bootcamp. Some of those who launched and will launch podcasts are highly influential persons who already have an audience interested in anything they do such as Tami Chynn Mitchell and Kristal Tomlinson.

Podcasting is a digital recording of either video or audio for streaming and downloads. This makes it much different from broadcasting which is largely available on the AM/FM frequencies in specific times alotted on the airwaves. Due to the nature of Podcasts both the host and advertisers are exposed to the more unique audiences inside and outside the fourteen parishes of Jamaica. The content is always available and it is unregulated except for protection under international copyright laws and rules set by the hosting platforms.

The successful podcasters all over the world cater to a niche market for which they have expert knowledge or they bring in guests with the knowledge. Olympic athlete Warren Weir who recently launched his podcast, “Weirz World” focuses on sports, lifestyle and culture while the former radio show “Nightly Fix” podcast focuses mostly on music and entertainment.

Nightly Fix uses both YouTube and podcast platforms to distribute their episodes to over seventy thousand subscribers each week.

Many Jamaican artists are going to the entertainment podcasts for interviews and music premiere before they go to mainstream television and radio shows because on the podcasts they can have more open conversations to wider and more direct audience pre-programmed with an interest in music.

Another example is, media personality, Debbie Bissoon, who launched her podcast #Momscanrelate last Mother’s Day to the appeal of thousands of social media fans. That podcast caters to mothers and deals with some of the interesting and taboo subjects surrounding motherhood. There is an episode for example that deals with postpartum depression that stirred up many conversations and had women coming forward to share their own stories. Debbie has since launched a #Momscanrelate Bruch series and a popular Moms Can Relate support group on facebook.

Many podcasts in Jamaica are recorded for uploading on YouTube and this enlarges the audience reach because YouTube is the most widely used streaming platform in the world with over 2.2 billion persons.

Vlogger, “Dutty Berry” on his Dutty Berry Show Youtube Channel, has a weekly half-hour program titled “Top Ten Countdown” where he counts down local and international happenings in a comedic delivery. He has over one hundred and sixty-seven thousand subscribers on YouTube alone and was recently awarded a YouTube Silver Badge for being a top creator. “Dutty Berry” who is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, produces and presents the content himself weekly and his videos are viewed and shared by thousands of people.

He recently said at the last Top Form Podcast Bootcamp that ; “I never knew that creating YouTube videos could be such a lucrative business or I would have started long ago.”

This is what separates Podcasters and YouTube creators from Instagram and other social media content makers. Person are more prepared to consume longer content for free and the creators are paid either by donations or advertisments based on the amount of streams.

He is now able to command top dollars in advertisements and endorsements due to his tremendous online and offline popularity.

Although the major media houses are doing their best to compete with digital content makers, their overhead costs make them largely dependent on advertisements for sustained programming. Podcasters and YouTubers do not have this problem. Whevener they want to create, they find savvy means. The traditional Jamaican news media’s business earning strategy is to create or find a program and then charge advertisers for intrusive placements, or they ask viewers to pay for a subscription services.

Due to the personal nature of Podcasts and some YouTube programs, the advertisements seamlessly flow as part of the programs without the obvious service disruption and it cost significantly less to produce a podcast program. For my podcast, “The Top Form Podcast” where I interview top performers in athletics, media, entertainment, banking and other top business professionals, I got my first set of studio equipment from my mother. I have since leveraged the skills of my friend Warren Weir who records and edits some episodes in High Def.

Unique Audiences

The podcasts an YouTube programs mentioned above all have unique listeners, unique streams, unique downloads and they only upload once or twice per week. In the world of YouTubing and podcasting, the quality of the work is more important than the amount, so that also cuts the cost and makes it easier to maintain consistent programming.

Jamaica-Canadian author Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast is released in sponsored episodes annually, he is now in his third season. Others like GaryVee release daily episodes. The consistency and quality of a podcast is dependent on the style and resources of the producer.

Organizations and companies should invest in developing podcasting.

With the popularity of social media, every corporate company, and public personality is a media company. They all upload unique content for customers, fans and prospects directly or indirectly to Instagram and Facebook keep brands relevant. Podcasting allows for personal endorsements during sophisticated programming.

Merging Media Strategy

This upward trend in internet penetration opens up huge potential for already established podcasters, YouTube content creators and other conglomerate media companies. If podcasting, becomes part of every productive Caribbean company’s media and marketing strategy, their growth will be much more targeted and predictible as the increase in audience size and more unique programming continues. Indeed by the time you are through reading this article there will be more persons searching for more uniquely Jamaican podcasts and YouTube content in their area of specialty.

Jamaica has 1.2 million persons who listen to the forty-four radio stations, and the top four stations command fifty percent of the listenership according to the All Media Surveys of the last three years. Only six hundred thousand shared listeners are tuning in to the reamaining forty stations. Meanwhile the growth of the internet in Jamaica according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, has moved from just 2% of the population with internet access in the year 2000 to approximately 60% of the population in present day or 1.6 million.

For the audience, it has become much easier to listen to a podcasts than a radio station. These new internet customers access podcasts and YouTube using their smartphones, and other internet ready devices such as smart television.

All they need is working internet service to watch or listen to the programs on the go.

They have at least ten popular platforms such as Apple, Google Podcast, Anchor and Spotify(with VPN) to listen or watch which they may accessed from anywhere. Imagine listening or watching your favorite podcast program on your way to the airport, then on the plane and being able to tune in to the same program when you land at your destination.

All is not lost for the media companies however, because there is room for a merger between established media companies when they eventually understand how to monetize and leverage the technology of podcasting. CBS’s Play.it, for example, has over four hundred podcast programs on its network. Play.it, is a podcast network that aggregates audio from third party brands and publishers. The network also has under its belt hosts like Boomer Esiason & Craig Carton, Carson Daly and Kevin & Bean. They even include content from the CBS Sports Radio network and CBS-TV news shows like “48 Hours” and “60 Minutes.”

Like Dutty Berry, there is a grand opportunity for other students who possess the temerity and degrees in Media Communications to launch their own programs,develop their own interests and passions using their cell phones.

As the value of the podcast medium grows locally, terrestrial radio’s value will decrease but content producers, corporate companies, celebrities, and other public figures with an interest in developing media production can come together and make greater deals that will enable more high-quality content for on-demand streaming.

The heighten interests and competition will see better local programs with international appeal for unique audiences that will give advertisers greater value for their dollars. The standout ones will be the ones who are consistently serving great content.

Donovan Watkis is the host of the Top Form Podcast and Host of the World Music Views on TVJ during ER.

If you want to learn more about podcasting, come to the next TOP FORM PODCAST and YOUTUBE BOOTCAMP at the Hub 34 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston on November 16. At 10:00

To register Email: worldmusicviews@gmail.com

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