In recent years, our collective generations experienced a shift in content consumption. We got spoiled by on-demand content, because the instant gratification aspect is pretty awesome. Little by little, we also started to binge watch shows such as Lost, Breaking Bad, Orange Is The New Black, Game of Thrones, and more. But that’s video content- what about audio? Don’t worry- people started binge listening to audio content as well. In fact, there is a whole website that’s dedicated to podcasts worth binge watching.
Now let’s try to take a step back here and try to pick up on some patterns. Many of the awesome shows that everyone binge watched were serialized. The ever-so-popular podcast, Serial, was also serialized. And hmm, many of the most popular modern works of fiction such as Twilight, Harry Potter, and dare I say… Fifty Shades- all serialized. Their serialized film adaptations were major box office hits. Should more podcasts be serialized? What about audiobooks- should they also be serialized?
There is something special about episodic storytelling. Despite being of the instant gratification cohort, we find a thrilling aspect to waiting anxiously for new installments to arrive.
It’s probably easier to serialize podcasts, than it would be to serialize audiobooks, especially if the content was already written. However, there is an increase in original audiobooks being created without a printed counterpart. Authors of such material may want to consider serializing them- not by simply chopping down chapters and delivering in installments. Rather, by creating a series of story arcs with increased character development and indications of what’s to come in future episodes. Authors must bear in mind that binge listening is very different from binge reading and binge watching. They get to grasp the attention of their audience for a much longer period.
All this poses a question- could there be a downside to serializing podcasts and audiobooks? Well, aside from the commitment factor, and having to be on top of your creative game- I don’t think so. Unlike the audiobooks on cassette tapes of yesteryear, you wouldn’t have to worry about high costs or bundle sales. Just work your magic, and watch your popularity soar!