Mumbai: The audio series platform Pocket FM has announced its entry into the US market and international development.
The company published a performance update for the period October 2021–September 2022 after finishing its fourth year of operations in September 2022.
Due to the launch of the micropayment model and advertising solutions, the company's ARR (annualised revenue run rate), as recorded through October 2022, has surpassed $25 million.
In its fourth year of operation, the platform has seen a 10X increase in revenue thanks to the addition of micropayments, with 500,000+ weekly transactions.
Commenting on its fourth-year performance update, Pocket FM co-founder & CEO Rohan Nayak said, "We started with a vision to redefine the audio entertainment space, reviving it as a mainstream entertainment form with audio series, and unearthing unique and unheard stories for our listeners worldwide. As we scale up to emerge as the global audio series platform, we will continue to strengthen our content library and nurture and grow our creator community across the world to keep our listeners entertained."
He further added, "We are glad to have led this category creation with sustainable and profitable growth. As we successfully discovered the content monetisation model in the audio space, our revenue has grown 10X to $25 million ARR in just 12 months. With the continued momentum and expected growth targets, we foresee another 4X growth in our revenue during our fifth year of operations, thus entering the $100 million ARR club within five years of our operations."
Content, creators, and consumption
With 733 audio series, the audio series platform has expanded its selection of content. As a result, audio series, a fictional long-form audio storytelling genre developed and pioneered by Pocket FM, have increased by 270 per cent. With over 90 per cent of all time spent on the platform, this category has dominated consumption.
The company's creator community has grown to over 500,000 people worldwide, and its listener community has increased to over 80 million people. In its fourth year, streaming on Pocket FM has increased by 75 per cent and surpassed 40 billion minutes.
The age range of its listeners, which makes up more than 80 per cent , is 15 to 35. The majority of people in this category enjoy family drama, romantic suspense, and thrillers. In addition to these well-liked genres, Pocket FM has observed a positive pattern of consumption in the fantasy segment, which has seen a 4X increase in listening minutes.
With a median age of only 28.4 years, India is a young country, and younger people have found Pocket FM's storytelling to be engaging. 85 per cent of all Pocket FM listeners are younger than 35, with 68 per cent falling under the age of 25. Due to its extensive library of content, Pocket FM is incredibly well-liked in rural areas as well as small towns, but among the top five cities on the platform are Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, and Hyderabad.
Over 50 million people listen to audio series, a long-form storytelling genre that Pocket FM developed and promotes. Of these listeners, 26 per cent are romance junkies, and 20 per cent are thriller fans. On average, its audience listens for more than 100 minutes every day.
31 per cent of Pocket FM listeners tune in to their preferred programming while in motion, primarily during their commute to and from work between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. It's interesting to note that listeners are more attentive to the platform before bed or when they are unwinding. During the hours of 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight, about 45 per cent of listeners tune into Pocket FM.
In addition to its audio programming, Pocket FM launched its online reading service, "Pocket Novel," in October 2021. More than 100,000 novels have been uploaded by the writer community to Pocket Novel in the past year or so.
Similar to Pocket FM, Pocket Novel has seen a daily average user time of 100+ minutes. During that time, it has recorded well over 400 million reads. Additionally, the company has begun turning the best-selling novels into audio series and has added a robust pipeline across genres.
Tech and Product
To increase user engagement and retention, Pocket FM is doubling its investments in its AI and ML capabilities and focusing on developing a sophisticated, personalised content recommendation engine. Additionally, it is developing cutting-edge text-to-speech, image, and NLP generative AI capabilities, which will accelerate content testing and production.
Additionally, it is enhancing its AI capabilities for content moderation and quality testing that are automated.
With two rounds of capital injections in its fourth year, Pocket FM is in a strong financial position. In December 2021, the company raised $22.4 million in Series B funding, and in March 2022, it raised $65 million in Series C funding.
The company has raised $93.5 million in total.