Will Interactive Features Actually Benefit Podcasters?


PodMov Daily: Thursday, October 14

Episode 520: Your Thursday Podthoughts

Will Interactive Features Actually Benefit Podcasters?

Interactivity is shaping up to be the next trend in podcasting, writes Ashley Carman of The Verge. Features like polls, Q&As, and commenting turn a one-way listening experience into something much like social media. Spotify recently introduced the first two, the first major US audio platform to do so.

It’s largely about keeping fans on the platform, and companies like Twitch, Facebook, and Fireside are following suit in one form or another. The problem is that audiences are rarely concentrated in one place. If a Pocket Casts listener has to switch to Spotify for the ‘full experience,’ again, only Spotify wins.

“The business use cases are clear, but as is always the question with innovation motivated by corporate interests, does anyone outside of these platforms want this?” Carman asks. Podcasters who have done it for years on Patreon know that someone does, but that someone is far from a typical listener.

Back on the Market, One Show Sets an Example

Podcasting will be fine if Spotify continues to own some content, says Kerri Hoffman, the CEO of PRX. “But if they start to create a closed-loop, where you can only access the shows that are hosted on the platform, and you get cut out of that revenue if you don’t agree to being exclusive, that actually is a problem.”

As Will Bedingfield of Wired reviews Spotify’s big-picture impact, he and Hoffman agree that ‘closed-loop’ exclusives are bad news. Meanwhile, the hosts of horror-comedy Last Podcast on the Left have reopened their loop. The wildly popular show just became the second ever to end an exclusive Spotify contract.

In the LA Times, Wendy Lee explains what’s changed in two years. For long-lost fans (like your editor), co-host Henry Zebrowski has spoken the magic words: “It’s been really sweet, we’ve learned a lot from [Spotify], but then we got an opportunity to go wide again. We’re on all the tubes and we’re excited about that.”

The Ramsey Show: 1 Billion Downloads and Counting

Out of 2 million podcasts, only a handful have reached the 1 billion download mark. This year, The Ramsey Show became the fourth ever to earn the title. For 29 years on the air, financial expert Dave Ramsey has helped dedicated listeners navigate money and life. 

Each week, his impactful advice is trusted by millions and counting. “We’re teachers at the core,” said Brian Mayfield, Executive VP of Ramsey Network. “We’ve never seen anything grow the way the podcast world has grown, so we see tremendous opportunity there to continue to increase our audience.” 

Since The Ramsey Show began 15 years ago, callers have paid off a calculated $500 million. Ready for practical answers to the questions that matter most? Listen and follow wherever you get your podcasts.

Hello, fear. Thank you for being here. You’re my indication that I’m doing what I need to do.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Motion censor: Google Podcasts is hiding entire shows “seemingly at random,” Podnews reports (scroll down). Attempting to block explicit content for users under 18, the platform has flagged sports podcasts and other all-ages material. Publishers are not notified, so it may be time to check.
  • Special sauce: Next Thursday at 3:00 pm CT, SquadCast will host “How to turn your podcast into a product your listeners will pay for.” In the free virtual workshop, Supercast CEO Jason Sew Hoy will share a “step-by-step playbook” of how audience-supported models succeed. RSVP required.
  • First pitch: Subscriptions and Patreon aren’t the only games in town. A crowdfunding platform may be a better fit for your show, says Lindsay Harris Friel of The Podcast Host. She reviews deadline-based (e.g., Kickstarter, Seed & Spark) and project-based options (e.g., Ko-fi, Buy Me a Coffee).
  • Adapt, overcome: While Apple Podcasts “isn’t the worst experience in the world,” there are at least 10 ways to make it better. Jake Peterson of Lifehacker shows how to customize and organize your way to functionality. (From ‘start,’ click ‘list slides’ in the top right corner to skip the slideshow.)

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