Updated March 21st, 2024 at 17:58 IST

PocketFM’s surge in valuation: The journey of audio entertainment

The platform raised $103 million in a Series D funding, and aims to use the amount as part of its global push

Reported by: Business Desk
Pocket FM | Image:Pocket FM
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Series, without the video: Audio entertainment platform PocketFM, which rose to fame for its short series in regional languages has raised  $103 million as part of a Series D funding.

Led by Lightspeed Ventures, the funding round is part of PocketFM’s expansion on the global front.

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What does PocketFM do?

PocketFM was found in 2018 by Rohan Nayak, Nishanth KS, and Prateek Dixit as a platform which offered listening, creating audio content in various regional languages as well as podcasts, audiobooks and stories. 

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With genres for audio stories spanning fantasy, superpowers, drama, suspense and thriller as well as romance, Pocket FM said its audio series ‘transcends cultural and geographical boundaries.’

The platform has a library of 100,000 hours of content with listeners spending 115 minutes on the platform on average. It has also seen 20 million transactions in 2023

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Backed by Lightspeed, Tanglin Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, Naver, and Silicon Valley Bank as its investors, PocketFM’s rise is on the back of coin purchases that is also format of many online games and novel apps.

This gave it an edge over subscription-based streaming platforms like Netflix and Spotify.

The company in February also ventured into online reading with the launch of Pocket Novel, and pumped $40 million to bolster its presence in the literary landscape.

Co-founder Nayak in a LinkedIn post outlined how Pocket Novel has seen 90,000 writers signing up for its platforms since February 20.

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The platform has an India-only audiobook arm, which competes with the likes of Audible from Amazon and runs the feature with pre-existing partners in the country. 

Expansion plans 

PocketFM entered the US markets in 2022, and with the recent fundraise it aims to foray into Europe and LATAM markets this year.

The company’s revenue in the US has surpassed $100 million in terms of annual recurring revenue (ARR).

With 57 per cent growth on-quarter, PocketFM’s overall ARR is over $150 million.

The latest fundraise is also part of its strategy to bolster its generative AI efforts and make its content library richer.

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This will help writers create content more efficiently, and also use AI-based voice narration to create an audio series.

The company also aims to foray into AI-based recommendations for consumers in the future.

How does the future of audio look like?

With 1.3 billion potential users globally, the Audio Series market represented a lucrative $ 21-25 billion opportunity in 2023 and is poised to double by 2027, according to a report by Redseer.

PocketFM’s own study in December 2023 shows 81 per cent of users tuning into audio entertainment on a daily basis, surpassing ratings for TV entertainment, online music and video OTT.

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About 31 per cent of readers have shifted from online music to audio series, while 16 per cent of them saw their entertainment consumption rise with tuning into audio content.

The difference in entertainment consumption habits is also on the back of screen fatigue and people want to listen in at work, or even while resting.

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Deloitte forecasts over 1.7 billion monthly podcast listeners, 270 million audiobook enthusiasts, 750 million streaming music subscribers, and nearly 4 billion radio listeners globally in 2024.

 

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Published March 21st, 2024 at 17:58 IST