Podcasts and revenue: Causes for optimism | What’s New in Publishing


This format faucets into the ability of the human voice: the ‘Gutenberg Parenthesis’

Now we have seen this earlier than. Publishers determined for brand new income streams pile into the newest fad in content material or distribution. Enormous investments are made. Massive media purchase up dazzling startups wielding some promising new know-how. Disappointment follows, and in a 12 months or two, everybody appears for the following Massive Factor.

Will podcasts comply with this pattern? I believe not, for a number of financial, technological, and journalistic causes.

However one more reason I don’t suppose podcasts are the newest fad is the speculation of the “Gutenberg Parenthesis”. It proposes that the period of the printed phrase has been only a 500-year interruption within the extra pure type of human communication: speech. Dean Starkman interviewed the Danish students who proposed the speculation in an article within the Columbia Journalism Evaluate in 2010.

The speculation is that digital communication represents a brand new, networked model of the oral human tradition that existed earlier than there have been printed media, similar to books and newspapers. Digital media return us to the time when the voice was the primary approach individuals communicated with one another — in speeches, songs, tales, and the information. Oral communication, like as we speak’s digital media, was fluid, ephemeral, uncontained, and “simply shared, manipulated, and adjusted by every particular person.”

This idea helps clarify why broadcast journalism, which didn’t require you to be literate, grew to become the dominant mass medium of the twentieth century. So, podcasting shouldn’t be a fad. Like pre-literate communication, it’s much less authoritative — anybody can have interaction in mass communication — and it’s extra individualistic, permitting limitless creativity.

However is podcasting a enterprise?

The quick reply is sure, and it’s a quickly rising enterprise. A research of US podcast promoting finished for the Web Promoting Bureau (IAB) confirmed income of $842 million in 2020, a virtually 20% improve over the earlier 12 months. At that charge, podcasting income was predicted to exceed $1 billion in 2021.

A part of the explanation, the research stated, was new promoting know-how known as “dynamic insertion“. It permits advertisers extra flexibility to shortly swap out messages as wanted on the level the place the listener downloads the podcast. Dynamically inserted advertisements elevated their share of podcast income from 48% to 67% 12 months over 12 months.

Enter the giants. There isn’t any clearer signal of podcasting’s enterprise potential than the jockeying amongst main tech platforms for a chunk of the pie. What’s New in Publishing has reported that AppleSpotify, and Substack have all been upgrading their know-how to make it simpler for podcasters to amass paid podcast subscriptions.

Amazon reportedly paid $80 million for Wondery’s Smartless podcast, ranked 26 among the many hottest by Edison Analysis, in line with Ashley Carman of Sizzling Pod. Amazon additionally purchased advert gross sales and distribution rights for Precisely Proper Media’s podcast slate, which incorporates My Favourite Homicide, among the many prime 10 hottest podcasts.

Cautionary story: 5 issues I realized as a pandemic mother and podcast enterprise girl

Influence of the pandemic

The coronavirus modified radio listening habits. Drive-time audiences plummeted in all places as a result of staff and college students had been staying residence slightly than commuting. However information publishers are benefiting as a result of advertisers are selecting information podcasts first over all different varieties of content material (22% market share), in line with the IAB research talked about above.

Podcasts concerning the coronavirus from France, US, UK, and Germany captured giant audiences. Supply: Reuters Institute.

One instance was NPR (Nationwide Public Radio), which misplaced a fourth of its viewers for its dwell exhibits. Nonetheless, for the primary time, NPR was on monitor in 2020 to earn more money from underwriting on podcasts than on its typical radio exhibits.

NPR has 4 of the highest 25 podcasts as measured by weekly listeners, in line with Edison Analysis: Planet Cash (12), Recent Air (13), Up First (14), and Wait Wait . . .Don’t Inform Me (15).

The net information journal Slate reported that half of its advert income is now coming from podcast promoting.

Podcasting internationally

The Reuters Institute for the Examine of Journalism in 2020 revealed an in depth research of day by day information podcasting in six international locations — the US, UK, France, Denmark, Australia, and Sweden. Among the many findings reported by Nic Newman and Nathan Gallo:

  • Day by day information podcasts make up lower than 1% of all these produced however account for greater than 10% of the general downloads within the US and 9% in France and Australia.
  • For publishers just like the New York Occasions (The Day by day) and the Guardian (Right now in Focus), on-demand audio briefings are attracting giant day by day audiences, constructing behavior and loyalty for his or her manufacturers, and driving important income.
  • Publishers see day by day information podcasts as a vital solution to appeal to youthful audiences and to have interaction them extra deeply with their manufacturers.
  • Podcast listening general skews younger, with under-35s within the UK 4 instances extra more likely to eat a podcast in comparison with over-55s.

Podcasting in Spain

Ismael Nafría’s publication, [email protected], included protection of the impression of podcasts on Spain’s media market.

In January, Spain’s largest business radio community, Cadena SER, launched a brand new design for its web site which emphasised “audio first”. The broadcaster now makes its dwell broadcasts all the time accessible on the web site’s participant.

Audio-on-demand and podcasts, which had been beforehand accessible individually, are actually built-in into Cadena SER’s web site. Downloads have elevated 38% prior to now 12 months to 25 million a month, in line with Nafría.


The financial prospects of podcasting for information publishers appear promising for the time being. Viewers and income development have been speedy. The saturation level has not been reached but.

A number of the technological advances of latest years have accelerated the expansion: elevated computing energy of smartphones, 5G networks, audio manufacturing apps, dynamic advert insertion, and new distribution platforms.

Journalism organizations have acknowledged the alternatives for viewers and income development and jumped into the competitors. Many have found that the podcasting format permits them to inform tales in new methods not replicable in textual content or video codecs. It’s one other arrow of their quiver.

Lately, I’ve change into an insatiable client of podcasts. It’s like having a transportable radio in my smartphone, with the distinction that I can take heed to no matter I would like every time I’m exercising, enjoyable on the sofa, buying, cooking, cleansing, or strolling the household canine.

I discover the Gutenberg Parenthesis idea compelling. I’ve rediscovered the ability of the human voice in podcasts and audiobooks. I’ve discovered myself sympathetic to politicians I disagree with after I heard them clarify their positions in a podcast interview. I discover them extra credible, extra reliable. The podcast interview lends itself to a dialog slightly than a confrontation interview or debate. It’s way more human.

James Breiner

This text was initially revealed on Entrepreneurial Journalism, and is republished with permission.
You’ll be able to join with James Breiner on LinkedIn right here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here