In an increased effort to raise its profile among young, tech-savvy consumers, American company, General Electric (GE) is producing an original science fiction podcast series.
GE has created a partnership with The Slate Group’s podcast network, Panoply, that will run the new series. Titled “The Message,” the series consists of an eight-episode podcast that will chronicle the attempts to decode a 70-year old message delivered from outer space. The scientists decoding the message use real ultrasound technology developed by GE, naturally.
Andy Goldberg, GE’s global creative director observed that, “It’s science fiction meets real science.” The idea for the podcast series was developed after company officials took another look at the company’s historic “GE Theater” television series airing in the 1950s and hosted by actor Ronald Reagan.
GE has decided to develop and produce its own original podcast series rather than run ads on other podcasts because it does not want the show to appear like advertising. Rather, the company wants the series to raise GE’s brand awareness among younger audiences.
The episodes, running between 40-60 minutes in length, will begin streaming October 4th. They will be commercial-free and free to download.
Goldberg did not state how much the venture is costing GE.
GE is just one company showing an interest in the possibility of using podcasts for marketing. Interest in podcasts has increased since the series, “Serial,” was aired last year. That series focused on the chronicling of a murder investigation. Golberg observed that, “It flipped a switch for us that podcasting was no longer going to be informational pieces but could be entertainment.”
Like other media innovations, podcasts are becoming a growing part of the digital marketplace. According to Edison Research, in 2014, 15% of teens and adults listened to one podcast per month. In 2015, that number has increased to 17%.
Because the medium has generated so much interest, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is actively assisting companies in promoting their podcasts to advertisers this fall.
It is likely that more companies will follow GE’s lead and develop their own podcasts rather than just run advertisements on the podcasts of others.