For the first time in 8 years, we review how the Analyse Asia podcast has performed in 2022. We want to discuss the key highlights and experiments we have done and share our perspectives on what we could have done differently. We reframe our vision and offer glimpses of what we want to achieve in 2023 and set ourselves up for success in the future.
Our growth and key highlights in 2022
As I regained the helm of the podcast in Sep 2021 with a two-year and three months break, the whole of 2022 is to restore the monthly growth rate from 2014 to 2019. We produced 46 episodes in 2022, with 8 recurring guests and 37 new guests. We hit episode 400 with my former host, Carol Yin in Nov 2022. In June 2021, we reached 2 million plays counted by the number of streams, downloads and plays across different platforms (Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud). We achieved 213.52% YoY growth from FY 21 to FY 22. Based on our current forecast maintaining the average number of plays per month, we will reach 3 million plays in March 2023. It means that we are doubling the growth approximately half the time. Between Jan and March 2022, due to the passing of my late father, our host took some time off before regaining the momentum to start the podcast production again for the rest of the year.
Since Analyse Asia's founding, we focused on making a high-quality podcast for our audience. For the past eight years, we raised the bar for the quality of our guests invited to the show and made sure that we are a brand to the audience out there. For the year 2022, we maintained the quality and share a few key highlights in no order of priority:
- For the first time, we have an award-winning author who came on the show before his win: Chris Miller, author of "Chip War" to talk about the rise of Asia from the semiconductors industry point of view, who won the FT book prize of the year 2022. We congratulated Chris on his success and we looked forward to other authors who would want to have a deep conversation about their work. We interviewed a few authors with their new books on the show this year: "Surveillance State" by Liza Lin & Josh Chin, "Growth by Choice" by Haresh Khoobchandani (VP Autodesk APAC), "Don't Quit Your Day Job" by Aliza Knox (former head of APAC for Cloudflare and Twitter), "Move" by Parag Khanna and "Community in a Box" by Mark Birch (global startup community lead from Amazon Web Services).
- The key executives running the regional business for technology companies from Google to South China Morning Post have approached our podcast as their first port of call. Since the re-start of the podcast in 2021, we have the following key executives in Asia Pacific who have graced the show to talk about their business footprint in the Asia Pacific and engaged us in provoking thought leadership. Since our restart, we have Scott Beaumont from Google, Dan Neary from Meta, Gary Liu (former CEO) from South China Morning Post who has spoken to us twice, Paul Marriott from SAP, Mitch Young from Servicenow, Haresh Khoobchandani from Autodesk, Ahmed Elhusseiny from Roche Pharmaceuticals, Bjarke Mikkelsen from Daraz, and Venkatash Saha from Wise. I am grateful to have them sharing an hour of their precious time with me and look forward to them coming back to the podcast. Sometimes, I get an additional one-hour private lunch with them privately to have a conversation on interesting topics in the region.
- The movers and shakers of Web3 and crypto companies in the Asia Pacific shared their insights and perspectives on this podcast, from builders of protocols and decentralized applications to crypto hedge funds. Yat Siu from Animoca Brands, Andrew Vranjes from Blockdaemon, Gabby Dizon from Yield Guild Games (YGG), Aleksander Larsen from Sky Mavis and Axie Infinity, Darius Sit from QCP Capital, Sandeep Nailwal from Polygon, Raj Gokal from Solana, Jacky Yap from Chain Debrief, Gwendolyn Regina from Binance, Alex Chung from Reality Platforms, Cosmo Jiang, Joyce Yang, Jin Kang & Daniel Kim from Global Coin Research, Rawson Harvety from Reflection Digital, and even Kyle Davies from 3AC. Despite the crypto crash this year, we remain optimistic and remind ourselves that we are in a period where it is time to build for the next wave of innovation coming out in the next two to three years. I remain thankful for how helpful the crypto community has been in helping me source and bring guests on the show.
- We made an aggressive effort to document the venture capitalists, angel investors, key operators and startup founders in Southeast Asia since Sep 2021. On the startups in Southeast Asia where we set our bar high, we have Liu Tianwei from Xfers, Choo Oi-Yee from ADDX, Kelvin Lee from Alta Group (Fundnel), James Chan from Ion Mobility, Vidit Agrawal from GajiGesa, JJ Chai from Rainforest, Turochas Fuad from Pace Enterprise, Ravi Chidambaram from RIMM and Kiren Tanna from Una Brands. On the venture capital and angel investors segment, we brought prominent angel investors such as Yeo Yaw Shin (former Twilio and Alibaba Cloud), Tony Zameczkoski, Alap Bharadwaj and Belinda Ong from XA Network, Tan Yinglan from Insignia Ventures, Lim Kuo-Yi from Monk's Hill Ventures, Michael Lints from Golden Gate Ventures, Tiang Lim Foo from Forge Ventures and Brian Ma from Iterative VC. Moving forward, we revise the bar for startup founders formerly at Series B since the start of the podcast and raise it to Series C unless they hit our exception criteria, for example, a reputable founder from the past or an established senior executive in any industry moving forward in 2023.
- We showcased the key industry watchers and journalists covering important stories and surprising trends from key reports in the Asia Pacific. Kay Lum (now with Iterative VC) talks about the Zilingo debacle, Terence Lee from Tech in Asia and Jon Russell (now a venture capitalist in Crypto.com) discuss the challenges of press coverage in the Asia Pacific. We have also covered the annual E-Conomy SEA (Southeast Asia) Report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co where I interviewed Stephanie Davis (Head of Southeast Asia from Google) and Florian Hoppe from Bain & Co, the SCMP China Internet Report 2021 with John Artman (former Technode and now SCMP tech editor), Jon Y who build some of the best videos on semiconductors in Asianometry, James Crabtree (author of "The Billionaire Raj and executive director of IISS-Asia) on geopolitics in the Asia Pacific, and Lillian Lee on China's evolving SaaS and enterprise software landscape.
- The global thought leaders who I get to host now and then, for example, Benedict Evans, who writes about technology past, present & future, Simon Kemp who produced the global state of digital every year with We Are Social and Hootsuite and Parag Khanna on his thought-provoking foreign affairs article "Great Protocol Politics" explaining why crypto and web3 are shifting our paradigm in how geopolitics will evolve by the acceleration of present-day technology.
- We arrived at the 5th year running with Shai Oster from The Information discussing the state of China in 2022. In fact, in a long distant past, we also have Jessica Lessin, the founder of The Information on the show. Since our first engagement with Shai in 2017, we always reflect on the year that has passed on the most important events that shook the China technology ecosystem and predict what is to come in the following year. It was a milestone for us and I was often inundated with great feedback from the audience. Many listeners are now looking to this episode as an annual ritual. As China is re-opening its borders in 2023, we expect interesting news from the 2nd largest economy in the world.
- Last but not least, we experimented with the first video podcast on our official Analyse Asia Youtube channel (dormant since 2014, and now we are kicking it off) starting with Kyle Davies, one of the co-founders of 3 Arrows Capital, on the demise of the crypto hedge fund. This is the first but it is not going to be the last and we are moving forward with videos for some guests on the show for the coming years. We have placed a high-quality transcript of the conversation inside the main post. We are aware of the constant requests from our audience.
Where are we heading?
As the founder of the podcast, I have been asked about monetization of the podcast many times. My only north star when I first started the podcast, is to be the premiere podcast brand in the Asia Pacific. I do not know if we are there and given my status as a former Amazonian, it remains Day 1 for me. Over the last two months in 2022, I started to think deeply about the future of the podcast and begin to crystalize the flywheel for Analyse Asia, what's next for the next year & then the next decade, and what great would look like.
Our vision is to tell the story of Asia from our unique point of view. From our vision, we focus our mission to bring insights and ideas from important business, technology & media stories to educate, inform and enable our customers to make key business decisions in the Asia Pacific market. We aim to help them understand why Asia is the most dynamic and fastest-growing region in the world. The business, technology & media stories reflect best on why everyone out there needs to pay attention to our region. With that vision and mission in mind, we embark on a new journey with new forms of storytelling by evolving our podcast from an interview format to a multi-channel media network.
If the key theme for Analyse Asia in 2022 is restarting the engine, the theme for 2023 will be improving the growth engine. By improving the growth engine and only right-size the set of goals, we might be able to monetize the podcast. For a long time, as the founder of the site, I have not worked on monetization because it is a side project and serves as a passion that keeps my entrepreneurial muscles going.
Moving forward to 2023, the editorial team will focus on three key initiatives that will provide a roadmap towards monetization. That being said, if we want our customers to pay us, we must maintain a high-quality bar for everything else now as we did with the audio podcast in the past. We must ensure that our customers will acquire value with the money they pay to Analyse Asia.
Here is my simple plan for Analyse Asia in the next year that will address the long-term plan:
- Shifting the podcast from audio to a multi-channel network with a laser focus on growing our audience with video only on YouTube. Other than doing video interviews, I am looking at different types of story-telling there specifically in the analysis of key trends, the weekly summary of key stories in Asia tech and what they mean for technology, business and media globally from our point of view.
- Building the community by introducing paid membership to our community channel using either Slack or Discord and physical events. I want to introduce the memberships model gradually in 2023. The first set of benefits which I want to introduce consists of getting access to our new channel either Slack or Discord (and we are not decided yet) and high-quality text-based edited transcripts of past interviews that the audience has asked for. The differentiation for Analyse Asia is that we don't use an AI to just transcribe and leave it there with bad grammar but we edit it with human curation to provide the reader with the right context.
- Growing advertising through our media content. We will first introduce how advertising will work for Analyse Asia audio podcasts before growing it on video. We are interested in brand-native advertising that our audience can identify with. We will share more details on our site in the next few weeks.
Here are our three key asks to our fan base over the years before we jumpstart any form of monetization:
- Subscribe to our Youtube channel and support us as we need to reach 1k subscribers and 4k watch hours before we can leverage the monetization model of advertising via YouTube. We will gradually step up to have a short form video per day in 2023
- Subscribe to the Analyse Asia main site as a free member, as we will be building a section on transcripts where free members will be able to read selected transcripts and paid members will be able to read all transcripts starting from Sep 2021 when we re-started the podcast. As I have said before, the memberships will come in Q1 2023, and you can decide to come on board when I have properly seeded the community there.
- Spread the word for us, and please share our videos with your friends out there and audio podcasts and follow us through these channels Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter and LinkedIn. We don't share our podcasts daily on most social channels other than on Twitter daily. Yet, every day without fail since the beginning of our podcast, we curate and share the most important insights, infographics and key statistics through these channels at 9 am and 9 pm in Singapore time without fail. We need your help to spread the word out there.
The foundation work which we have built to jumpstart the growth of the Analyse Asia podcast will set us up for success in the next few years. The achievements in 2022 were built upon the last eight years of blood, sweat and tears, from sourcing guests, production work and distribution through various channels. Over the past year, I have migrated a significant chunk of repeatable work to a remote team which I can rely on them to get the train running. While moving forward, I am grateful for the support I have from my family and close friends who provide thoughtful comments on how we can improve for the future. For me and the editorial team, it remains Day 1.
Take care & stay safe,
Bernard Leong, Founder of Analyse Asia
Editor's update on 1/1/2023: We updated the metrics specifically the YoY growth for Dec 2022 after the year closes.