Industry Leaders: Q&A with Henrik Isaksson - Managing Director, Acast Australia and New Zealand
1 November, 2021
Firstly, tell us a bit about Acast - what role does Acast play in the New Zealand (and global) podcasting space and how does it differ from other platforms?
“Acast is the world’s leading independent podcast company - independent being a key word here! We don’t own any IP or podcast content, rather we’re there to help creators of all sizes find and grow their audience across every podcast listening app there is — including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and hundreds of others.
We also help our creators make money from their craft. Through Acast Marketplace, advertisers can buy podcast ads at scale, sponsorship and branded content to tap into the millions of organic conversations happening every day between podcast hosts, their guests, and their listeners. It’s about helping advertisers reach the right people, in the right context, for the most effective results — all while respecting valuable relationships between podcasters and their listeners.”
Who is Henrik? Tell us about yourself and how you ended up in the podcasting business?
“I started my audio journey in early 2010 at Spotify in Sweden. I later relocated to Australia and helped launch the business in AU & NZ. When Acast launched in Sweden in 2015, I kept a close eye on the amazing work they were doing and how they managed to create a sustainable ecosystem for creators, no matter their size. I have always been a huge fan of the spoken word and I feel very privileged to be working with a fantastic team who share the same enthusiasm for the medium we work in.”
Podcasting has already exploded around the world. What's your take on the NZ scene? What needs to happen for more kiwis to start listening to podcasts more frequently?
“2020 was a record breaking year for Acast and I'd say for the wider podcasting industry as well. Listeners were hungrier than ever for podcast content - whether it was for comfort, an escape or to have a good laugh and I do think we’re seeing that trend continue.
Since that time, Podcasts have really cemented the role they play in everyday life for so many people and it’s becoming increasingly common for friends, family and colleagues to recommend podcasts in the same way they would books, movies and what they’re currently watching on Netflix.
In New Zealand alone, we’re currently seeing an average of 4.5m listens per month, which goes to show there are a lot of Kiwis already tuning into podcasts. I think as we’ve seen in other markets, this will only increase as the amount of local content increases, the recommendations between friends continue and more people start to make podcasting part of their everyday lives.”
What are the top 3 Kiwi podcasts everyone in the world should subscribe to, and why?
“It’s no secret that the podcast industry is booming and the New Zealand market is no different. My top three suggestions would be Urzila Carlson’s podcast ‘That’s Enough Already’, ‘The Worst Idea of All Time’ with Tim Batt and Guy Montgomery and ‘The Shit Show’ is also another great one. There’s so many Kiwi podcasters doing amazing things with quality content - it’s hard to choose just three!”
What advice would you give to someone looking to launch a new podcast in New Zealand today?
“At Acast we love to say that everyone has a story. I think that’s a huge contributing factor to the podcast boom - as a medium, it’s got a relatively low barrier to entry. There’s plenty of people who look at podcasting as a passion project or side hustle - and while that remains true for many - others are increasingly seeing it as a big part of their careers and have started to make some real money out of it which is incredible.
One thing I would say, is when you’re thinking of starting a podcast, ask yourself why someone would choose to listen. Pressing play on a podcast is an active, conscious choice made by the listener and so the podcast has to have something in it for them. Podcasting is an intimate experience and listeners want to feel as though they are part of the conversation, not just listening to a heap of in-jokes between mates!”
Anything else you would like to tell us?
“At its heart, Acast is a creator-first business. Whether you’re looking to start a podcast or grow and make money from your existing show - we’re here to help you tell your story. Hit us up for a chat!”
Acast is a Gold Sponsor of the 2021 New Zealand Podcast Awards. The Acast Best Independent Podcast Award has helped to promote and reward dozens of Indie creators from New Zealand. Find out more at https://www.acast.com/