Welcome to episode 25 of the Richard Dally podcast where I bring you a UK perspective on the latest news and developments from the world of podcasting and Internet Radio
This week I look a view of future podcast monetisation strategies, potential developments from Apple in the podcasting arena, how podcasters are using Patreon to gain financial support from their audiences and the potential legal pitfalls in the name of your podcast.
Websites and articles mentioned in the show:
Mathew Passy from the Pod To Pod podcast speaks to Steve Henn of podcast discovery service 60db, discussing podcast monetisation strategies: http://www.podtopod.com/podcast/steve-henn-60db
Eddy Cue from Apple discusses podcasts: Audio – Recode Replay podcast feed http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/?id=1005732702 Video: https://youtu.be/5I52eXEP5I8
Podcast Sales Terminology Needs To Be Unified Across Buyers and Sellers – A guest article by Thomas Mancusi of Audioboom for Rain News: http://rainnews.com/thomas-mancusi-audioboom-podcast-terminology/
Chew.TV’s Trello board which is used to develop their product roadmap: https://trello.com/b/UcS0N2fx/chew-subs-roadmap
Patreon for podcasters: https://medium.com/audioteller/how-patreon-became-a-major-source-of-revenue-for-podcasters
Let’s start this week by looking at some thoughts on podcast monetisation strategies from Steve Henn of podcast discovery service 60db. In episode 19 of the Pod To Pod Podcast, published on the 13th February 2017, Mathew Passy spoke with Steve about his app and his view of the future of the podcasting ecosystem. It’s well worth listening to the full 30 minute interview (link in the shownotes of course at richarddally.com/25).
What I wanted to mention about this interview was the insight Steve has on monetisation. He starts by looking at move of newspapers into digital over the last few years where they threw away the previous subscription model of the delivered paper and started to rely on targeted advertising.
So that happened, but the successful newspapers today are now operating freemium and subscription models as they found they couldn’t survive on advertising revenue. 60db wants to help podcasting move to similar models. He compares this streaming music where this same model is used. He also notes that adverts in streaming music aren’t actually bringing in as much money as people things – Steve says its less than the amount of revenue coming from vinyl!
Steve favours models similar to Netflix and Pandora and can’t see subscriptions to individual podcasts or networks, like Gimlet, being successful. To make this work you will need a broad enough collection of podcasts to make it worth someone paying a subscription to avoid adverts. 60db wants to create a marketplace that can be fair to podcasters in terms of revenue share.
Steve concludes by discussing the concept of ten minute or shorter daily shows or stories and how he sees a big opportunity for podcasters who can produce these. This talks to something I’ve talked about a couple of times – more and more people seem to be talking about the benefits of shorter shows.
Do listen to the full podcast – episode 19 of Pod To Pod – to hear the full discussion. Also, I’m happy to say that while researching this piece I also discovered that this podcast is also listed on 60db – which is rather awesome, especially as I appear on the first page of results for the search term “podcasting news”.
Nick Quah in his newsletter this week reports on a brief discussion on podcasts that happened at the Code Media conference this week. Rob Walch on the Libsyn podcast The Feed also mentioned this on their latest episode. Rob spotted a few basic errors in the interview, like who invented podcasting and which company makes Serial but as Rob says, it’s good to hear from someone high up in Apple who knows what podcasts are and is thinking about their future.
Eddy Cue is Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services and reports directly to Applue CEO Tim Cook. Cue talked about some of the inventive things they are working on and said that Apple is working on new features for podcasts. He was pressed to say whether Apple was going to get more involved in podcasts and whether they would do anything to improve analytics, perhaps providing the same kind of access to subscribers as Apple does in the magazine space.
Cue declined to provide any more details. I guess it’s a case of ‘watch this space’.
The discussion on podcasts was very short but the interview covers a wide range of subjects relating to music and podcasts. If you want to listen to this, you can find the full interview on the Recode Replay podcast feed. I’ll also put a link to the video in the shownotes.
As an aside, Nick makes a really interesting comment in his newsletter which I think highlights just what a split is happening in podcasting. Nick says that the more he writes about the podcast industry, the more he feels like he’s being compelled to mimic trade coverage styles from the television industry – so things like who’s working with who, who’s associated with what show and lots of rumours about what’s happening in the podcasting world.
Of course Nick focuses on the professional side of podcasting, reporting on happenings in the media world and from the big podcast networks. He notes that production politics are increasing as the industry matures. I see this as another sign of a growing split between the big companies getting into podcasting and the independent podcasters. I mentioned this when looking at the British Podcast Awards last week – hopefully I’ll be wrong and we will continue to see lots of diversity and acknowledgement of all types of podcast producers.
Congratulations to Nick by the way as he is going to be a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow later this year. He says he is going to use the backing to develop a guide for newsrooms looking to create local podcast strategies.
Thomas Mancusi of audioBoom wants us to stop talking about downloads and focus on number of listens instead. In a guest article for Rain News Thomas says that Podcast Sales Terminology Needs To Be Unified Across Buyers and Sellers. Mancusi is the Vice President for Sales and Development at audioBoom, one of the leading podcasting and on-demand audio platforms around.
The premise of the article is that a number of terms are being used more and more in podcasting and different people mean different things by them. The particular issue that Mancusi wants to overcome is ensuring podcasts and buying agencies mean the same thing when using these terms.
Some of the terms mentioned in the article include:
- What is a pre-roll?
- Is a live read actually read live?
- Is mid-roll a live read or ad-injected spot?
If this is a topic that interests you then do check out the article on the Rain News website.
The author makes a number of recommendations aimed at standardising the terms but I’ll focus on just his thoughts on downloads versus listens. Mancusi wants to put an end to the word download saying that it is a reminder of, and I quote, “the archaic days of delivering a podcast”. He favours the use of the word listens instead. His thinking on this is that more people are now clicking on the play button and listening immediately than used to be the case and that the number of people downloading content is decreasing.
There does seem to be a slow trend in this direction, which is probably helped by the availability of some podcasts on streaming services.
Personally I’m not sure this really matters – except that for me the term listens implies that a whole show has been consumed so how will you count it if someone quits before the end – would that be half or quarter of a listen? Don’t expect measurement and the related analytics to get any simpler any time soon!
UK based Chew.tv continues to grow. Chew is a live streaming platform with a community of over 350,000 amateur, up-and-coming and professional DJs and producers and personalities from over 130 countries. They also say they have an audience in over 190 countries around the world.
This week Chew report they have passed a figure of over 1 million chat messages sent on the platform in the two years since launch and that their community sent 150,000 messages in the month of January 2017 alone. Chew also say that their new features such as stream forwarding, including to FB (other livestreaming platforms) are proving popular. They also offer Mixcloud and Dropbox integration where the audio of DJ sets can be automatically posted once finished.
One intriguing thing about Chew is that they are very open about the features they are planning or considering introducing. Last week on this podcast I mentioned Trello and Chew actually provide open access to anyone to their Trello board that they use for feature development. I’ll put a link in the show-notes at richarddally.com/25 if you’d like to take a look.
Patreon is popular with both podcasters and online DJs as a way gain financial support for their shows from their audiences. Simon Owens has written an article on Medium that explores the use of Patreon by various podcasts and discusses how successful this monetization strategy has been for them.
Many podcasts struggle to attract advertising despite having loyal and growing audiences so they are looking at other ways to start generating revenue. Simon discusses several stats on advertising, including that some podcast companies report that they are commanding between $50 to $100 per thousand listeners. He also mentions a comment from Midroll Media, one of the leading podcast networks which said that shows need to be getting 50,000 listens per episode to accepted into the Midroll network and they are looking to double it to 100,000.
A common figure stated for shows to start being interesting for adveristers is 5,000 downloads per episode and, at least according to Rob Walch of Libsyn, that would put your show into the top 10% or so of all podcasts being published. So you can see why many smaller podcasts turn to Patreon and seek the support of their existing audience.
Patreon was founded by music artist Jack Conte and is a crowdfunding site optimized for artists who generatee work on an ongoing basis.
Instead of making a one-off contribution, supporters set a dollar amount and then Patreon charges that amount to their credit card each month. Patreon allows producers to set different subscriber levels with different rewards.
As more and more podcasters have joined Patreon, the company has provided more tools and features, including a special RSS feed that allows subscribers to listen to bonus content in their podcast app of their choice. Interestingly, Patreon is also being used by a number of bigger shows, some with hundreds of thousands of downloads. These shows have found it is a great way to reward their loyal listeners and bring it extra revenue.
I’ll finish this episode with something this week that I fear is going to become more common as the podcasting space grows and gets more crowded. Santa Fe-based Mariah Media Network publishes “Outside Magazine” and has other ventures around that name – and in March 2016 it published its first “Outside” podcast. Unfortunately for Mariah Media, New Hampshire Public Radio has been producing an “Outside/In” podcast since November 2015 and started a radio show of the same name in April 2016.
New Hampshire has now gone to a US federal court to defend its right to create “Outside/In” podcasts. It seems they have done this because they’re worried that Outside Magazine is preparing to sue – even though the magazine actually gave the “Outside/In” podcast its own award as “Best Podcast of 2016.”
Mariah apparently recently asked New Hampshire stop infringing on its claimed trademark of “Outside” – and the lawsuit is the response.
The case is still ongoing but I think this should serve as a warning to all podcasters to think carefully about the name or their show and brand when getting started to avoid the possibility of expensive legal fees.
Okay, so that’s all the news from the Richard Dally podcast for this week…