Major podcast apps and platforms don’t allow users to filter podcasts based on language or country of origin. Rádio Expres in Slovakia (part of Bauer Media Audio group) decided to take advantage of this untapped opportunity to develop a local podcast platform – Podmaz.sk. This decision was backed by research conducted by Expres in December 2020, in which they specifically asked their audience whether they would like to have a single platform dedicated to Slovak podcasts. 81% of respondents answered yes, which highlighted the need for a platform like podmaz. Generally speaking, Slovaks love podcasts - up to 40% of people from the 16-55 age group listen to a podcast at least once a month and 60% only listen to Slovak podcasts.
The aim of the project was to help listeners navigate the complex landscape of Slovak podcasts, giving new podcasts a chance to break through and find their audience.
The product – Podmaz.sk
After about a year of development and a launch in November 2020, Podmaz is now the biggest platform for Slovak podcasts. The platform allows users to discover podcasts, create playlists, search by category and follow popular Slovak podcasters. Anyone can listen without registering, while those who do register can access more features like updates about new episodes or listening history.
In the first few months after its launch, the platform already gained 40,000 monthly users and is now growing both in terms of audience size and number of creators. There are currently 480 podcasts available with more than 22,000 episodes across 23 categories, such as travel, science, comedy, food, sport, fashion and more. Podmaz features a wide range of podcasts from major print publishers, TV and radio broadcasters, brands, online publishers and small independent podcasters. New episodes and podcasts are added via RSS feeds and publishers can also ask to be featured and to expand their reach via Podmaz.
For the moment the platform is only available on the web with the possibility to add a shortcut to smartphones. In February 2021, a special chatbot, PodmazBot, was launched to make it easier for users to discover new podcasts. It works within Facebook messenger and can recommend podcasts based on topic, current activity, time available, mood or interests.
Podmaz recently won a special award by IAB Slovakia for Digital Media Solution that recognises innovative and successful digital projects.
Podmaz is also a unique advertising platform for digital audio advertising on the Slovak market. Rádio Expres has its own digital audio products on the platform, both original podcasts and radio shows adapted into podcasts. They sell advertising both within their own products as well as around the other almost 500 podcasts, thus significantly increasing the inventory and reach of digital audio. Ads are sold either through direct sales or programmatically via several DSPs. Clients can choose whether they prefer a digital audio campaign across Rádio Expres streams only or across the Podmaz platform as well. Podmaz, therefore, offers significant additional reach among podcast listeners on top of radio streams.