Reaching Corporate Success by Telling  Stories

In this age characterised by a slew of new-age entertainment options in real and digital space, the amazing growth of an audio series platform like Pocket FM shows that the ancient craft of storytelling still can have the audience’s undivided attention if it is done in a creative way.  

Founded in 2018 by Rohan Nayak, Nishanth KS(both IIT Kharagpur alumni), and Prateek Dixit, Pocket FM has disrupted India’s vibrant entertainment space. It already has over 250,000 content creators, over 130 million listeners, and a presence in over 20 countries. 

Bengaluru-based Pocket FM is credited with reviving audio storytelling as a mainstream entertainment format. With its audio series, Pocket FM is reshaping the audio entertainment landscape in India. Pocket FM has embedded storytelling elements with a layer of content personalisation in the longer format, which resulted in the emergence of “binge listening” as a consumption habit.

Garnering Huge Popularity 

The platform has garnered a dedicated following, with its listeners spending an average of 110 minutes daily listening to stories on Pocket FM. The platform thrives on its vibrant creator community, comprising skilled storytellers, talented voice-over artists, and imaginative writers. 

Pocket FM has built a huge repository of exclusive audio series. With over 100,000+ hours of content, including 2,000+ exclusive audio series and over 400,000 episodes across genres and languages, the platform has cultivated a loyal audience and established itself as a driving force in the entertainment category. At the heart of Pocket FM’s mission lies the ambition to enrich the lives of millions of listeners worldwide. This is achieved through a diverse range of engaging audio series that attempt to transcend cultural and geographical boundaries, sparking imaginations and fostering a shared love for storytelling.

 From thrillers to romances to horror to drama, the platform offers an eclectic array of narratives, ensuring that there is always something for everyone. On average, Pocket FM episodes last 10 to 30 minutes, and the content comes in various languages, including Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, and Bengali.

This platform had over 45 billion minutes of streaming in 2022. During 2023, the company’s app on Google Play crossed 100 million downloads. 

Boosted by Investment 

As a  Series D-stage company, PocketFM has raised US$196.5 million in multiple rounds and is backed by marquee investors such as Lightspeed, StepStone, Times Internet, Tanglin Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, Naver, and others. In March 2024, Pocket FM announced that it had raised $103 million in Series D funding. Lightspeed led the round, with StepStone Group participating.

This latest round brings Pocket FM’s total funding to date to $196.5 million. The new funding will bolster Pocket FM’s efforts to enter the US market and aid its global expansion, with plans to extend its reach to Europe and LATAM markets in 2024. The company will continue strengthening its exclusive content library and creating a strong IP playbook by providing the writer community with a stage to share their unique and unheard stories.

Pocket FM has surpassed $150 million ARR (annualised revenue run rate) and is growing at 57 percent QoQ. In 2023, it recorded over 20 million transactions. During the same year, the platform saw more than 75 billion minutes of streaming globally. In FY2023, Pocket FM reported 647 percent revenue growth for its India business.

The company entered the US market in the fourth quarter of 2022, and its revenue has now exceeded $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) there. The US audiences are the most engaged on the platform globally, spending an average of over 135 minutes daily on the platform. The platform boasts around 10 million registered users in the US.

While keeping abreast with the times, Pocket FM has developed a generative AI-led strategy for automation, content curation, production, and distribution. The company plans to leverage generative AI to scale its entertainment content offerings and build AI-powered personalised recommendations that can enhance the overall user experience.

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