In a Pandemic Year, Podcasts Offered an Escape for the Ears
Studio71 helps creators do what they do best by supporting the talent behind the mic
2020 has been a big year for podcasts. In a year where everyone’s routines were interrupted, the reliability of podcasts as a source of entertainment and escape has proven especially valuable. When other mediums like TV shows, movies, and books lagged behind the day-to-day reality of life during lockdown, podcasts were there. Hosts recorded podcasts in their closets under blankets. Guests called in via Zoom. The limitations were real, but somehow, it all worked. A medium whose popularity preceded the pandemic took on new relevance at a time when audiences craved comfort, knowledge, and escape — all without having to look at a screen. Businesses in tech and entertainment took notice. Amazon has its eye on acquiring podcast studios. Spotify continued its expansion into pods with a few key acquisitions and deals, from Joe Rogan’s record-breaking exclusive move to the platform to the recently-announced signing of literal royalty. Following the success of Amazon’s Homecoming, studios like HBO and Hulu have started optioning more and more podcasts to adapt into series and films.
Here at Studio71, podcasts have become an increasingly large part of our business. We launched a division devoted to the medium back in 2018 and have already made our mark in the field with engaging, original content.
This year alone, we launched over 30 unscripted shows, and dove into new territory with our first scripted narrative series, “The Shadow Diaries,” starring Madelaine Petsch (Riverdale) and Kara Hayward (Moonrise Kingdom). The series, written by Zack Imbrogno and K. Asher Levin, who also directed, launched in time for Halloween.
This month, as end-of-year lists started rolling in, we picked up an iHeart Radio nomination for best tech show for “Waveform” hosted by Marques Brownlee. Brownlee, known to fans as MKBHD, started as a YouTuber and translated his passion and deep knowledge of tech into the audio space. He’s in pretty good company alongside fellow nominees “Rabbit Hole” (The New York Times), “Recode by Vox” (Recode), “Reply All” (Gimlet)
and “TED Radio Hour” (NPR).
But we’re not in it for the awards. We’re in it for the creators. That’s why growing our podcast division has been a natural progression for our brand. Podcasts, perhaps more than any other kind of entertainment, rely on an intimate relationship between hosts and their audience. People listen to podcasts because they want to feel connected, informed, and entertained. Whether it’s a news show, a talk show, or a scripted series, the small, scrappy teams that make podcasts happen are what keep listeners hooked. By supporting the talent behind the mic, Studio71 helps creators do what they do best. We’re proud to be part of the podcast boom and can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for our slate of creators and the industry as a whole. No matter what the next few months bring, we’ll be keeping an ear to the ground.