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DUBAI: Rising Giants Network, a Middle Eastern storytelling company specializing in Arabic-language podcasts, such as “Beirut Blast,” released a report on usage in Saudi Arabia.

Entitled “Podcast Consumption in Saudi Arabia 2021,” the study focuses on consumption, language, personal preferences and listening habits.

Basel Anabtawi, CEO and co-founder of Rising Giants Network, told Arab News: “I think it’s striking to see the growth in consumption from year to year – it shows that podcasting is on a trajectory that surpasses itself every year.

The report showed that in Saudi Arabia 67% of podcast listeners watched at least once a week, 30% listened to podcasts daily, while 22% did so three times a week.

People aged 25 to 34 were most likely to listen to podcasts every week (72%), followed by those aged 45 to 54 (71%), proving that younger audiences are not. not the only one who listens to podcasts.

In terms of platforms, Apple dominated with 85% of podcast listeners. Anabtawi said this could be due to the high penetration of iPhones among podcast listeners, given that the Apple Podcasts app is preloaded on each device.

However, Anghami was growing in popularity in the Kingdom, with 32% of respondents saying it was their preferred platform, possibly due to the company’s recent investments in Lebanese artist Elissa’s podcast, Anabtawi added.

Despite Spotify’s investments in the region, including collaborations with Saudi Arabia-based Kuwaiti pop star Bader Al-Shuaibi, Jordanian musical artist Issam Al-Najjar, and a Ramadan-themed podcast with the Obamas, only 18% said they preferred the podcast listening platform. .

“Anghami started talking about podcasts in the region as early as 2017. I still remember my first meeting with Anghami back when I had the ‘Basel Meets’ podcast,” he said.

“Since then, they’ve invested in some big-name celebrity content, which I think may have contributed to the notoriety of podcasts in general. “

Spotify was relatively new to the region, but Anabtawi added, “I wouldn’t discredit them yet. They have major exclusives in the world and I suspect this strategy will eventually be duplicated in the Middle East and North Africa region as well. “

When it comes to language preferences, an overwhelming majority of people polled for the report said Arabic was the primary language of their favorite podcasts, compared with around 20% who preferred English.

Unlike watching shows or movies, listening to podcasts was found to be a passive activity with 41% listening during housework or chores, 36% while driving, 31% on the way to work and 28% by preparing in the morning.

Basel Anabtawi, CEO and co-founder of Rising Giants Network. (Provided)

The report showed that 59% of listeners were drawn to the themes or topics covered in the podcast, 20% to the host and 17% to the show’s guests.

Entertainment was the most popular genre, followed by art, sports, religion, news, wellness, news, education, comedy, and tech.

Anabtawi said, “This (the report) shows that podcasting is growing and that there is a large and engaged audience consuming long content. The retention provided by podcasting is unprecedented and can really help a brand build a strong relationship with audiences through the integration of the native brand with popular podcasts in certain verticals.

According to a separate study, 90% of podcast listeners trust the medium rather than any other. Anabtawi stressed that it is important for brands to take this into account, keeping in mind that advertising on a podcast should be consistent, frequent and native.

“While programmatic advertising can be effective, I would consider working directly with the producers of the shows to add native messages to it,” he added.

Rising Giants Network works directly with customers to determine the message, target audience and their preferences. Based on these factors, the company examines which shows meet those needs and the different ways they can fit the brand.

Anabtawi said, “From dedicated episodes to host-read commercials, the possibilities are wide and varied.”

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