Podcast Opportunities in Africa
Podcasting has been described as the “next big medium” in Africa due to the sheer size of the youth demographic. However, there are limited monetization opportunities in Africa. Some of the top podcasts include Legally Clueless (Kenya), Alibi (South Africa), and Loose Talk Podcast (Nigeria).
- Africans have been creating and listening to podcasts for the “best part of a decade.”
- Podcasting is seen as the “next big medium” due to the sheer size of Africa's youth demographic.
- The African podcast landscape includes “active pockets of makers and users” in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria.
- Over 250 people signed up for the Africa Podfest event in Kenya before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- South Africa has been described as “one of the most developed podcast communities” in Africa.
- In Nigeria, the podcast charts are often topped by shows that featured friends talking about politics and pop culture or hosted by big-name pastors.
- Several obstacles contributed to the slow growth in podcast consumption in Africa.
- There is a lack of awareness on this medium as many Africans “still don’t know what a podcast is and where to find it.”
- Unlike Apple devices, there is a “lack of a single podcast gatekeeper on Android phones.” As Android devices are more popular than Apple devices in Africa, the discovery of podcasts is “often fractured with people finding and listening to podcasts on different platforms.”
- Data in Africa is “costly and precious.” Listeners can only overcome this obstacle by downloading the podcast episodes at places with free WiFi and listening later.
Partnering/Challenging Radio Stations
- Podcasters viewed radio stations as both partners and competitors in Africa.
- In 2019, Adelle Onyango, the creator of the Legally Clueless podcast, became a syndicate partner of Kenya-based radio station Trace FM.
- The podcast division of South Africa-based Children’s Radio Foundation has partnered with 70 radio stations across South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Congo, and Sierra Leone to train children to become reporters.
- Podcasters in Nigeria have noted that the “only way podcasting grows to a level big enough to challenge radio is by producing sufficient enough derivatives to build that niche.”
- There are limited podcast monetization opportunities in Africa.
- According to Paul McNally, the co-founder of South Africa-based podcast company Volume, the African audience is “relatively small and is not geared towards advertising on podcasts.” McNally has also stated that he “struggled to get an advertiser” on Alibi, which is one of his company’s most popular podcasts.
- Nigerian podcasters also struggled to monetize their shows because “advertisers do not fully understand podcasts yet, [and] it’s a numbers game, and obviously, radio still has the numbers.”
- It is assumed that Kenyan podcasters face the same problem as their counterparts in South Africa and Nigeria.
Most Popular Themes
- The most popular podcast themes in Africa include career, news/politics, and pop culture/entertainment.
- According to The State of Podcasting in Kenya 2019, 40% of the respondents selected career as their favorite theme.
- According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019 - South Africa Supplementary Report, 25% of the respondents have listened to news/politics podcasts.
- According to the 2019 Podcast Listening Habits in Nigeria, 75.7% of the respondents have listened to pop culture/entertainment podcasts.
- There are several podcasts that focused on the LGBTQ community in Africa.
- Podcasts such as AfroQueer and The Pride Diaries focused on the African LGBTQ community in general.
- The QueerCity and Rantcasts focused on the LGBTQ community in Nigeria.
Top Podcast in Kenya
- The Legally Clueless podcast was the most popular Kenyan podcast in 2019.
- The podcast has streamed over 388,000 times from June 2018 to March 2019.
- Legally Clueless was created by social activist and media personality Adelle Onyango.
- It focused on documenting “different stages of the unique human journeys of everyday African people.”
Top Podcast in South Africa
- Alibi is an award-winning podcast created by Volume.
- The podcast has won “Best Radio Feature at the national Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards.”
- It was the “first investigative limited-series podcast” in South Africa.
- The first season focused on investigating the “case of a man who was behind bars for 17 years but may have been wrongfully convicted.”
Top Podcast in Nigeria
- Loose Talk Podcast has been described as “Nigeria's biggest and most impactful podcast” and attracted a “cult following across the continent and beyond.”
- The podcast is hosted by journalists Osagie Alonge, Ayomide Tayo, and Steve Dede.
- Loose Talk Podcast focused on “documenting Nigerian pop culture.”
- The episode that featured Nigerian Legend, Blackface has attracted around 30,000 views on YouTube.
Other Notable Podcasts in Africa
- Some of the podcasts recommended by individuals working in the African media industry include What’s Crap on WhatsApp (South Africa), Nipe Story (Kenya), Sound Africa, and others.
- The I Said What I Said podcast is one of the largest podcasts in Nigeria.
- The Kill Switch is another popular podcast created by Volume.