Acast launches consortium of UK publishers to promote “trusted audio journalism”

Members include Tortoise, The Economist, The FT, News Broadcasting, and The Guardian

Independent podcast company Acast has launched a new membership consortium in the UK, bringing together influential media publishers who are investing in audio. 

The purpose of the Publishers in Podcasting consortium is to allow members to share expertise, information, and ideas to help further the podcasting industry for the “common good”. The first topic discussed by members in a meeting held last Thursday was how the industry can continue growing the popularity of news podcasts, having seen an 8% growth in listeners across UK publishers over the past two years. 

The association currently consists of five founding member organisations, including Tortoise Media, The Economist, The Guardian, The Financial Times and News UK. The group will continue to meet every six months and, if successful, Acast plans to expand the organisation to include other UK publishers, before opening it to global publishers in the future. 

“For the first time, the UK’s biggest publisher podcast networks are coming together alongside Acast to discuss the biggest topics in podcasting,” said Acast senior partnerships manager Alexandra Fuller. “This is a seminal moment and proves that the power of podcasting can bring leaders together to outline the next steps for growth in our industry."

“We’ll aim to meet each challenge collectively and work together to further establish podcasting as one of the most trusted news sources for listeners and advertisers.”

While the consortium has been praised as a broadly positive move, there are concerns from some quarters, with Media Voices Podcast co-host Peter Houston voicing hopes that it doesn’t revolve around larger organisations.

“While we welcome this move, we really hope that it isn’t all about working with Acast. Equally, we hope it doesn’t just focus on the podcasting problems of bigger publishers,” Houston wrote, adding: “we also see smaller publishers producing outstanding work. Their experience and expertise will be invaluable in developing best practice for the entire industry.”

A number of similar programmes to the Publishers in Podcasting consortium exist to help push discussions and share information about the podcasting sector. PodPod, for example, holds quarterly discussion group meetings with experts across the audio industry.