Hot Pod provides analysis, insight, and commentary on the growing podcast industry — and whatever it will be in the years to come.

It’s read by, and meant for, individuals, groups, and companies looking to better understand the growing podcasting and on-demand audio space for a variety of reasons: whether it’s to build things, to invest time and money and resources, to study the ecosystem, to have more ideas about where this all is going, or to generally do interesting stuff in the area.

It’s edited and published by me, Nick Quah. I’ve been covering the podcast industry since late 2014: first as a side project while I worked at other digital media companies, then as a repository of ideas and observations while I worked at a podcast company called Panoply Media, and finally as an independent venture now that I’m working, writing, thinking, and gathering information on my own. My work has been cited by the New York Times, Bloomberg, Wired, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times.

In August 2018, Hot Pod expanded to take on a new writer: Caroline Crampton, who is based in the UK.

Hot Pod primarily takes the form of a newsletter that comes out every Tuesday for free (that’s also syndicated on Nieman Lab, by the way), and two more newsletters a week called Hot Pod Insider that’s meant for paid subscribers. (You can find out more about Hot Pod Insider here.)

I won’t pretend that Hot Pod is anything close to a fully comprehensive source on the entire podcast industry and community. Nor will I or my writers portend to know everything, or be correct all the time, or have a clear sense on how the future will unfold. Such is the nature of being human: we can only share with you the limited but full scope of what we know, what we think, and what we believe at this point in time.

That said, I produce Hot Pod with a few guiding principles: thoughtfulness, nuance, balance, and sobriety. My greatest pleasures come from thinking deeply, seeing broadly, and turning a peculiar phrase. And the goal of this enterprise is to apply of those things to the study of the steadily growing podcast industry. Here, we talk about systems, ideas, problems, actions, arguments, and people. We also try to keep things pretty chill.

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Why podcasting? I mean, why not? Sure, it’s an increasingly buzzy media category that’s grown considerably and reliably over the past few years. According to a study from Edison Research and Triton Digital, the number of Americans actively listening to podcasts — defined as having consumed within the past month — is nowadays pegged at around an estimated 73 million, up a whopping 73% since 2014. A recent study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau that podcast advertising spend hit $317 million last year, sustaining an 86% growth year-over-year.

Courtesy: Edison Research

But really, I write about podcasting because I love it, and because I find it endlessly interesting as a community of people, as an ecosystem in search of itself, and as a telling microcosm of the media ecosystem at large. What else does one need to dedicate an absurd amount of one’s professional life towards?

Anyway, my hope is that, by reading Hot Pod, you can walk away with interesting things to think about, better ideas to play with, and more characters to consider. I like to think about the podcast ecosystem in terms of a city: a complex organism made up of many different neighborhoods, constituencies, demographics, systems, interest groups, people, and things that are connected and disconnected in many small and big ways. And Hot Pod is just one vision-impaired, glasses-wearing pair of eyes trying to see the whole thing.

I hope you like it.