Preview: Seeing Sound

05 : 09 : 2016 Podcasts : Transmedia Futures : Audio

US/UK – Podcasts are embracing visual culture, with interactive animations and informative graphics that enhance the medium’s intimacy.

  • Podcasts are here to stay. Monthly consumption in the US has grown by 75% since 2013, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital
  • The visualisations are enriching audio rather than compromising it, pleasing both audiophiles and Gen Viz
Interactive audio by The Guardian Labs and Seat Interactive audio by The Guardian Labs and Seat
Interactive audio by The Guardian Labs and Seat Interactive audio by The Guardian Labs and Seat
Invisibilia season two
Short film promoting Invisibilia season two

The podcasting industry is in a fit state, but it faces challenges with regard to the discovery of new content. How can your audience find content they cannot see?

New tools and campaigns from public radio stations are making audio content visual, allowing information to be quickly gleaned by the time-poor audience. ‘[The visuals] should provide cues to that person and answer questions for them: What is the mood of this story? Who is telling this story? Is this something I can identify with?’ says NPR’s editorial team.

Crucially, the pieces protect the intimate nature of audio conversations, adding complementary features. In May 2016 The Guardian Labs, in association with Seat, launched Inside the Mind of an Innovator. The website features an abstract interpretation of a sound wave, and animations that celebrate the voice itself.

The Big Picture

For more on how visual culture is enhancing audio rather than replacing it, read our Seeing Sound microtrend.

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