Podcast profits are on the rise – we’re just confirming this for you yet again.
As we mentioned in a previous article – Ira Glass talked about how profitable the podcast version of This American Life has become – podcast broadcasting is becoming more mainstream, more profitable, and yes, more used by marketers than the ubiquitous webinar.
However, the difference between the podcast and the webinar seems to be that regular listeners LOVE the podcast. And there’s enough really good, artistic, journalistic series that it’s not likely to see the whole medium engulfed by the sleazy marketer types who descend on a platform like locusts and turn it into something ugly.
Then this happened. Scripps Media bought Stitcher last week.
ADAM SYMSON: We think that podcasting is going to be an important medium, particularly for younger audiences, particularly as it relates to journalism, storytelling, and entertainment for the future. You can’t really walk down the street without seeing white earbuds, and folks are filling their time with all kinds of content consumption. Oftentimes that’s streaming audio and podcasting, and so we are building, for Scripps, a business for that younger audience. Midroll and now Stitcher work really well with that strategy.
So what does this mean? For the average Joe, probably not much, outside of the fact that a lot of independent podcasters will be able to maintain their integrity and the quality of their labors of love. The ones with a larger audience (and more potential for podcast profits) will likely receive some marketing help, in exchange for a larger cut of the revenue their show generates.
It’s also likely that everyone in the stable will reap the rewards of having a new financier – Scripps knows media, and they are so well funded (and know how to produce on a shoestring yet get a successful show) that the benefits should far outweigh the drawbacks.
It is a little concerning that they own Howl, the premium podcasting platform, MidRoll, the podcast advertising company, and now Stitcher, which is the best podcast service outside of iTunes. This makes for a formidable package they are running against any other podcast networks.
We think there’s a variety of different strong revenue streams for the podcast ecosystem yet to come. There’s obviously the B2B advertising marketplace, the premium subscription model, and probably a couple of other businesses down the road that we think podcasting will be good for. At the end of the day, podcasting has already proven itself to be a really intimate experience, where host-read advertising has terrific influence on the audience. The question is, how does one see the future with that kind of advertising vehicle?
In addition, the news that Apple finally appears to be making some moves to brighten up the iTunes ecosystem (simply rumors at this point, but we surely do hope they are true) could make for a competitive situation where good hosts have options and the listeners are rewarded.