Variety: Most Listeners “Lukewarm” on Paying for Podcasts


PodMov Daily: Tuesday, March 23

Episode 396: Testing, One Two-sday

Variety: Most Listeners “Lukewarm” on Paying for Podcasts

Companies chasing podcast subscription cash need many of us to change our minds, writes Kevin Tran of Variety. In June 2020 and in early March of this year, YouGov surveyed listeners: “Have you ever paid or donated money to access or listen to a podcast?” The results imply that attitudes haven’t shifted much.

Initially 78% of U.S. podcast user-respondents said they had never paid in any way to listen to a podcast. Nine months later, that figure is at 75%. Tran’s back-of-the-napkin math suggests that Americans (who have not previously paid for podcasts) may spend a ballpark of $13 million per month over the next year.

A smaller subset of loyal listeners has been most willing to pay, and Tran thinks it’ll likely stay that way. “Still, this type of revenue growth could be attractive to indie podcast studios (likely to be the ones reaching dedicated podcast listeners) looking to expand beyond ad revenue in the year ahead.”

Reality Check: The Costs of Podcasting To the Top

If your plan as a podcaster is to go big or go home, how are you going to fund that? Realistic expectations look different than they used to, says podcast philosopher and strategist Evo Terra. It’s true that startup and distribution costs haven’t changed much, unlike the expense of competing for listeners.

This spring there will be millions of shows available. “While the costs to add one more podcast to that list and make it potentially available to all of those people haven’t gone up at all, the cost to actually reach them has increased. Big time,” Terra points out. Mass circulation requires a  promotion budget to match.

The “amazing equal-opportunities enabled by the internet” have always been part of the podcasting fabric. It’s no longer the case that shows will attract the audiences they deserve. (Some would say that celebrity podcasts prove this.) For the most realistic shot at success, aim high, but not for the very top.

The Dr. John Delony Show: Because Mental Health Matters

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Host and Ramsey Personality Dr. John Delony, a leading voice on mental health, relationships, and wellness, takes a practical approach to tough topics we all face. Dr. Delony’s caller-driven conversations help listeners work through anxiety, depression and disconnection with new tools and plenty of humor.

Ready to take charge of your mental health? It’s time to cut through the chaos and start building a more confident future. Send in your questions and join the conversation three times a week. Subscribe to The Dr. John Delony Show wherever you get your podcasts.

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Past life: Today at 2:00 pm PT, SoundPath will host “Making Revisionist History.” Producers of Malcolm Gladwell’s hit podcast, Lee Mengistu and Eloise Lynton, will give a behind-the-scenes look at the process from archival tape to sound design. Wraps with a 45-minute Q&A. $10 registration. 
  • Unbound sound: The best wireless mic for you will depend on your own needs, wants, and budget. Matthew McLean of The Podcast Host lists his top picks by category, from headsets to handheld. He suggests wired mics unless you need to go cable-free. His reason? Curious house rabbits.
  • Focus group: On April 8 at 12:00 CT, Google News Initiative Canada will host “Investigative journalism and Pinpoint.” The live training session will cover Pinpoint, the first tool that Google has ever built specifically for journalists, and a full suite of investigative tools that are available online.

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