Peter Morris sounds tall. At least that’s what the CEO of PodcastOne, a leading ad-supported podcast network, would like listeners to picture in their minds, as he kidded around with me between serious pod-pitching. Morris, clearly a fan of the network that claims over 300 podcasts, touted the hosts and popular influencers, celebrities, and powerful voices they represent. (The biggest example might be Adam Carolla, who with one of the earliest entries in the space since carving out an on-demand audio niche post on-air radio career -- has the most downloaded podcast in history, according to Guinness Book of World Records.) Morris can drop names like Shaq to Steve Austin, Kaitlyn Bristowe to Tip "T.I." Harris but delves into meat and potatoes of the podcast business around the Super Listener study PodcastOne just completed with Edison Research and released the day of our conversation, during the recent IAB Podcast Upfront.
In one description of the study he presented with Edison SVP, Tom Webster, Morris says it was "based on anybody listening for five or more hours of podcasts a week...who have adopted this consumer habit and made it part of their daily ritual. Podcasting speaks to them ... These are the people [who] care about this medium the most. …They're the canaries in the coal mine; ...indicators of broader trends we're going to see. And they're growing [partly because] people are really conscious of the value of time, especially time alone. So, there's been a slowdown of people who will mindlessly press play and zone out to music on their commute or working out."
He also explains the synergies PodcastOne has with another Hubbard investment, sister company Reelz, the television network: "They've been an incredible partner…We started working with them on Murder Made Me Famous, and we're now in our second season. The first season was downloaded over 6 million times. Due to that success they've brought over nine other series with them. You take Autopsy or Cold Case Files, which we do as well in a partnership with A&E - it's a phenomenal way to take engaging, invigorating content and combine it in a way that it works for this medium with an intensity that you don't get anywhere else.... If you're asking me the audio version of the show is even scarier."