Podcasting and Money

Jake Shapiro writing on the RadioPublic blog, “Why we are introducing Paid Listens for podcasters on RadioPublic”:

…podcasters make ad-free episodes available in their feeds, we place ads on our platform that bookend each episode, and we pay participating podcasters for every listen on the RadioPublic apps for iOS and Android, at a $20 CPM.

I wrote about Dynamo earlier this week who are also offering a way for smaller podcasts to monetize. Compare the delivery models though; Dynamo is a server-side offering that rehosts the original episode file which means you’ll need to update the RSS location with iTunes and everywhere else, and since your podcast is being served from Dynamo this affects reporting back to your publishing platform.
RadioPublic own the player so they don’t need to mess with the original file, they can just ask the player “play this 30 second file before this episode” and there is no need to update RSS feeds or change reporting. Since RadioPublic offer only preroll and postroll ads, there is no interface needed to let you go in and mark the entry points of the ad for each episode like you need to do with Dynamo. Of course this means that a creator only gets paid for listens on the RadioPublic app and Dynamo will pay for listens on all platforms. Dynamo hasn’t published its ad rates though so I compare which might be more profitable for a creator.

Other than the technical implications (that player insertion is probably easier than rehosting and creating a UI for setting mark points), why only limit Paid Listens to the RadioPublic mobile app? Well this is also a marketing play - podcasters are incentivized to push listeners to use the RadioPublic app rather than other players.

I’m reminded of a fascinating interview on The Wolf Den podcast, Max Temkin talks about the idea behind setting up the Chicago Podcast Cooperative (starts around the 16:00 mark). They blanket bought ads for all the shows in the co-op, the hosts read them at the top of the show and got $50 per episode. It wasn’t about getting rich, it was about getting new podcasters into a rhythm of regularly producing content and having that small financial incentive really helped. Recall that Hello From The Magic Tavern came out of the CPC, which was a great deal for advertisers - they now have their ad in the first episodes of a hugely popular show. In the case of Hello From The Magic Tavern then grew too large for the CPC and went over to Midroll to manage the ad buys for them. What is the progression for RadioPublic? How will they support successful shows when they want to earn more than $20 CPM?

Further reading: FAQs about Paid Listens and Paid Listens Terms and Conditions