Apple said today that it will be using (anonymized) data from the app to show podcasters how many people are listening and where in the app people are stopping or skipping. This has the potential to dramatically change our perception of how many people really listen to a show, and how many people skip ads, as well as how long a podcast can run before people just give up.
As covered by Axios, in a report from IAM/PwC. As noted in the notes below the chart, these figures are based on a sub-set of the market, 20 advertising outfits. No doubt, they represent a huge part of revenue however. It’s hard to imagine that there’s many more millions in podcast advertising.
Also as highlighted by Sara Fischer:
Edison Research and Triton Digital estimates 98 million U.S. adults listen to podcasts.
Tech & Work World
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):
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!)
Betting on the Software Defined Business for Growth – where-in I describe why tech companies are so interested in “third platform,” “digital transformation” and other such phrases.
Software Defined Talk #28 – a fresh episode is up: “This week we talk about Chef’s new continuous delivery product, Chromebooks, the demise of Nebula in OpenStack land, Red Hat’s recent performance, getting used to 2Fa, and the usual round of recommendations.”
Mirantis Is Joining the Cloud Foundry Foundation to Never Build a Cloud Foundry Distribution – Pure Play OpenStack. – as we discussed in today’s Software Defined Talk episode, Mirantis is guaranteed to piss off just about everyone when they write a blog post, but they’re accordingly so entertaining and interesting.
Maximizing Cloud Optionality – I wrote a brief post on why I think our new licensing terms are strategically valuable. Licensing! tl;dr: it gives you the multi-cloud support you want.
Fun & IRL
No fun today, just work.
FRONTSIDE.IO – HIRE THEM! Do you need some developer talent? When you have a web project that needs the “A Team,” call The Frontside. They’ve spent years honing their tools and techniques that give their clients cutting-edge web applications without losing a night’s sleep. Learn more at http://frontside.io/cote
- Create a universe within your show
Your universe should include a theme song, phrases you like to use, segments, anything recurring. Differentiate your show. This signals your values and has the benefit of giving your audience a fun way to communicate with you and with each other. The best shows do this organically. This whole idea is how we got “Baba Booey.”
Other than finding your voice (my last tip on podcasting), that’s the most important part, long term.
“They are absolutely our most devoted and fierce fans,” Mr. Plotz said. Gabfest fans often show up for live podcasts, another area of expansion.
“They stand in line to get into an auditorium to watch three people talk into a microphone,” said Mr. Bowers, who estimates they have attracted crowds as large as 800 people for the live events.
You wouldn’t know it from my low amount (though awesome) activity in the podcast area at the moment, but I used to do a lot of podcasting, soup-to-nuts. Someone asked me recently for tips on starting a podcast. Here they are:
I used to have great podcasting tips, now I just have a few:
(1.) Get a feedburner URL for it. Obviously, submit this to iTunes. This will track subscribers.
(2.) Use libsyn.com or something that tracks downloads. Then along with #1, you’re done with tracking.
(3.) Use Google Hangouts to record – you can download the MP4 and extract the MP3 and put in your feed. It works well. You get the side benefit of a live broadcast and a video recording.
(4.) If you want to be super fancy, have people record on their local machine and then sync the tracks up. I don’t like this as it’s prone to error (“oops, I forgot to click record”) and there’s audio syncing issues that are annoying.
(5.) Setup an entirely new website for the podcast, don’t intermix it with an existing property.
(7.) Don’t go crazy with mics at first, a good headset will be just fine. I use a Plantronics 478 headset and it’s just fine. I have a Yeti mic, but getting it all setup is more hassle than it’s usually worth. All the awesome equipment in the world will be meaningless if your content is shit, or worse, boring.
(8.) Do a little bit of prep (at the very list, have 3-5 things you want to talk about to start with), and then post some show notes after the show on the podcast blog – embed them in the MP3 too!
(9.) Come up with a format to follow (go over the week’s news, pick one issue to interview someone on, your memories of childhood, etc.), but also allow for lots of loose, ad hoc talk.
This last point is key: the main thing you want is interesting content that’s entertaining and useful. How do you do that? Sticking to a format gives you the discipline to have something to say (you don’t want to open up each show with, “So, what do you want to talk bout this week?”), but you don’t want to just “read the news.”
The thing you can do in a podcast that you can’t do in text (things like 451 reports, blogs, etc.) is really express, at length, what you think and explain how you came to that conclusion; you can also discuss/argue with your co-hosts and guests. That is, you can really go deep and wide on a topic in a way that (for example, our 451 reports) don’t allow for (people want our report to be quick, not so deep they take an hour to consume). Through this, you hope to give your listeners new insights and new things to think about, at best: new perspectives and methods of thinking about the world/topic/tech. That’s what I like podcasts for, at least.
And, the final tip:
(10.) As always: break any, and all “rules” above if you know what the fuck you’re doing and don’t let me kill your vibe or harsh your style. Once you figure out what your podcasting style is, ignore all advice about what you should do different. Podcast are about personalities, not “facts.” You can subscribe to people reading the newspaper to you if you want to your ear-candy to be devoid of humanity, and just get facts. As another example, sometimes you just want to record over 2 hours of you and a friend drinking Scotch; that episode in DrunkAndRetired.com gets the most verbal comments when I come across listeners (along with other infamous episodes).
At the moment, here’s a good sampling of podcasts that I think are well executed and embody the above:
- The Accidental Tech Podcast – a strict format but with a very open-ended second half, good host interplay, and an overall clean approach
- The Critical Path (or any show on 5by5.tv, actually) – well crafted and great content. Notice how Horace not only tells you his conclusions, but uses the format to fully contextualize how he came to those conclusions and often will speak to general principles of analytical and strategic thinking. If you listen the whole series as if it were a bunch of lectures training you on how to think strategically, you’ll learn almost everything you need to know to do analyst work, strategy, and about half of what you need for M&A.
- [The Political Gabfest] – (http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/gabfest.html) I just started listening to this one, it has that good balance for strict format and open ended talk.
- Rodrick on the Line – this a is a good example of rule #10, but mixed with the end goal. There’s really no format, very little prep, but in each show (if you like this kind of, well, culture and world outlook/philosophy) you’re both entertained and get a fresh way of looking at life, from the trivial to the grandiose. And it’s funny…if you like that kind of humor.
(And you should subscribe to the most awesome podcast in the universe, Connected Culture and Oblique Strategies. Or, if you want one that’s just better than half the stuff out there, try DrunkAndRetired.com.)