Report: Spanish-Language Audio Markets See Fast Growth

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

In its second ‘Map of the Spanish Audio Industry’ report, Javier Celaya’s Dosdoce cites extraordinary uptake in audiobooks.

In Valladoli, December. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Miguel Habano

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Close to 750 Audio Entities in the Spanish Language
In the second edition of its “Map of the Spanish Audio Industry” report, the Madrid-based Dosdoce digital publishing consultancy has today (January 25) released its assessment that “In just one year, the audio industry in Spanish-language markets has nearly doubled in size, growing 75 percent in 2023 over growth observed in 2022.”

Led by Javier Celaya, Dosdoce makes reports on the growth of audio consumerism in the Spanish-language markets that are typically adamantly upbeat, with this one being no exception.

Among top-line observations:

  • Nearly 750 entities make up the Spanish audio industry ecosystem in 2024, as compared to 423 in 2023, a remarkable expansion of engaged companies by any metric. Dosdoce’s “map” refers to a listing of such outfits.
  • Involved is the opening of an €8 million financial package (US$8.7 million) by the Spanish government to bolster audio-industry growth. This “audio space” was opened in June of last year in the framework of Madrid’s PERTE New Language Economy initiative, tied to the prevalence and potentials of the Spanish language.
  • Although Spain continues to be the main place of origin of such companies and organizations that make up the audio industry in the Spanish language at 40.27 percent of activity, Latin America has had what the report sees as a 30.7-percent level of growth in the last year, the report says, reaching 37 percent of its part of the worldwide picture, while Dosdoce rates the Hispanic market in the United States as growing by 11.3 percent to come to 15.7 percent of the total representation of entities in the Spanish-language audio industry.
  • Artificial intelligence—while that can mean several things in audio fields—is seen as gaining ground in the Spanish audio industry, in what Dosdoce cites as 290.4-percent growth, year over year.
  • The audio-entertainment industry—inclusive of podcasts, audiobooks, radio, and streaming music—is expected by Celaya’s estimation, to continue growing at some 10 percent worldwide, as seen in revenues derived from subscription platforms, advertising revenues, branded content, and sponsorships, although a with very different revenue contributions per audio format, according to a study Dosdoce points to from the Deloitte Center for Technology, Media, and Telecommunications.
Consumption Driving Available Content

Behind what Dosdoce is focused on in the Spanish-language markets for audio products and services, three primary economic sectors are seen as drivers:

  • Sound-content production studios at 30.29 percent
  • Media outlets investing in audio at 22.10 percent
  • Audio streaming services in podcasts, audiobooks, audio dramas, “sound fiction,” and so on, at 11.46 percent

Javier Celaya

“Over the last few years,” commentary in the report reads, one of the key effects observed has been fast catch-up in terms of available content as opposed to growing demand.

“We have witnessed how the consumption of content in audio format in Spanish has skyrocketed, creating an audio catalogue made up of more than 100,000 podcasts and exceeding 25,000 audiobooks in Spanish, compared to the scarce audio content in Spanish of less than 1.000 titles from just five years ago.”

It should be noted by world book publishing industry professionals that the kinds of metrics and activities noted here are not always, and sometimes not primarily, related to audiobooks.

The first of Dosdoce’s two ‘mapping’ graphics for Spanish-language players. Image: Dosdoce

The government funding brought into the picture in the summer of 2023 looks to support, for example:

  • Podcast pre-production, production, and distribution
  • “Acceleration” or incubation projects and mentoring
  • Professional events and exhibitions relevant to podcasting

And the Deloitte study, as Dosdoce points out, looks at radio programs and podcasts as carrying the world’s largest audiences, described as standing at 4 billion radio listeners, 1.7 billion of whom also listen to podcasts.

On the other hand—and faithfully conveyed by Dosdoce—Deloitte is seeing audiobooks and streaming music “barely reaching 1 billion listeners worldwide

Nevertheless (and this reflects that point of differing revenues mentioned earlier), Deloitte sees a reverse in revenues: Podcasting and radio generate the least revenue, albeit with the largest audiences, per Deloitte’s research, while audiobooks and streaming music, reaching far fewer consumers, generate the most revenue, with audiobooks estimated to be driving some US$7 billion  in revenue and streaming music some US$23 billion. The decline in advertising is seen as the culprit for less revenue in podcasting and radio, with “the consolidation model”—and at that, we should consider Spotify’s offer of audiobooks—bringing together audiobooks and music.

In the Spanish-language world, Dosdoce sees Latin America and the Hispanic market in the United States as the key growth centers.

The second of Dosdoce’s two ‘mapping’ graphics for Spanish-language players. Image: Dosdoce

In Latin America, Argentina appears to be in the lead for growth of about 24.8 percent over last year’s “mapping,” with Mexico and Colombia following in growth of 21.76 and 19.85 percent respectively.

In the European markets, the United Kingdom, per Dosdoce, has the most audio activity in Spanish after Spain itself. The Nordic markets then follow in terms of Spanish-language activity in the audio sectors.

And in terms of that consolidation factor mentioned earlier, Dosdoce looks at how podcast-only platforms seem to have increased their presence by some four percent (49 from last year’s 45 percent), while audiobook-only platforms have stepped back (to 31 percent from 38 percent last year). Some 20 percent of platforms are seen to be offering the full range of audio content, up from 17.6 percent last year, all of this indicating that a diversity of content offerings is a boon and a trend likely to continue expanding.

A programming note: Dosdoce and Celaya are working together with the Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez‘s (FGSR), which offers the Readmagine program each late spring, to present a first international meeting of audio specialists in Spanish on February 27. Audio Day Parix 2024 is under the foundation director Luis González at the GSR’s Matadero Madrid Casa del Lector complex.

The research behind Dosdoce’s report today was conducted in October, November, and December 2023.

More from Publishing Perspectives on audiobooks is here, more on digital publishing is here, more on Spanish-language news is here, more on Spain’s market is here, more on Mexico’s market is here, more on Dosdoce’s work is here, and more on industry statistics is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.