Coté Memo #068: Are they really making $48,000 a month just talking about Apple?

Tech & Work World

Podcasting Rates

Brandon shared some podcast revenue estimates with me from the Hot Pod newsletter recently. I’m all for there being lots of money in podcasting, but they seem bonkers high:

Then there’s Standard Broadcast Co., independently produced shows that hang a banner under the same ad sales network. This includes three of the most popular tech podcasts: John Gruber’s The Talk Show; Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa’s Accidental Tech Podcast; and CGP Grey and Brady Haran’s Hello Internet. Those three programs have in the 80,000 weekly download range, and command a rack rate of $4,000 per ad slot ($50 CPM) with up to three ads per show, often sold out well in advance.

So, doing the math on this:

  • ATP will have 2-3 ads per episode. Let’s go bonkers and do 3.
  • ATP has 4 episodes a months, excluding holidays and such.
  • So: each episode would be (3 ads X $4,000) = $12,000
  • (4 episodes a month) X $12,000 = $48,000

Really? $48,000 a month?! Let’s half that: really? $22,000 a month?! Let’s 1/4 it! Really? $12,000 a month?!

I could go out and check rate sheets for various podcasts (see some at Standard), but I’m curious if these numbers seem high to y’all. Cracking the nut of pricing for “infrastructure” and “enterprise” podcasts has always been hard.

Back at RedMonk, we could paid about $2,000-$4,000 per “sponsored episode” (think of “native advertising” for podcasts before such a concept existed – we did a lot of interviews with early Puppet users, for example). I was once offered somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000 per episode for a podcast that I was wanting to start at 451 (thanks, you know who you are!); it got killed by 451 because they saw ads in podcasts as too close to commissioned work…or whatever.

Now that I’m in marketing, how would I think about paying for podcast ads? Well, we target Global 2,000 customers at Pivotal, so our deal size is large (we had 40+ customers in 2014 that accounted for almost $40m in bookings – you can do the math there for average deal size, and crimp it around a bit for a realistic distribution). This means that if I got just one “really good lead” from a podcast…I’d pay almost anything. If I’m looking to help create a $300,000 to $5m deal over the course of 1-3 years…what’s $3,000 here, $10,000 there? (This also throws some cold water on people who get freaked out about webinar, analyst, and other enterprise sales marketing price-tags: it’s because the end-goal is huge).

Still, it’s hard to know what good rates are. I’d love to hear what y’all think and what’s worked or not. You know, it’d be nice to get some revenue for my co-hosts and I for Software Defined Talk – and it’d also be good for any podcast deals we end up doing at Pivotal.

On another note: if the rates from Hot Pod are even half (or a 1/4th!) realistic, the independent analyst business model is looking even better if you can monetize a podcast.

For reference, here are weekly downloads of my podcasts (which are mostly Software Defined Talk at the moment):

Podcast stats, , as of 2 April 2015

You can check out individual episodes numbers as well. (And, check out the fancy chart styling in the preview version of Microsoft Excel for Mac!)

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