Paying for podcasts
I don’t have the energy for a lengthy article so forgive me for jotting down a few quick thoughts about Luminary and paid subscriptions:
For podcasters, more ways to make money I think is a good thing. If you think about every other media type there are multiple ways to earn money. If I want to watch a movie I can buy it, rent it, go to the theater, wait for it come to TV with ads. Why must podcasts only be ad-supported? Luminary is focused on the top-tier glossy productions but starting to get people used to the idea that they can pay for podcasts is beneficial to everyone.
For listeners, fewer ads is great. I would be very happy to pay money to never have to hear a podcaster talking about their anti-microbial underwear again. Of course, Luminary is not offering all podcasts ad-free, but you get the idea. Side note: I wonder if we’ll see more incubators and creator programs from Luminary to help podcasters develop their ideas and persuade them to move to their platform.
Going in with a bunch of celebrity-led shows was really the only option. Movie execs talk about stories with “pre-built audiences” (think adaptations from comics or podcasts) and this is no different. By paying for a celebrity host, they are really buying that celebrity’s audience. For this to work long term, the content needs to also be good but the pull of star power is the how they hope to build their audience to being with.
Offering all podcasts is another way to draw people in. I was surprised to learn that Luminary was also a regular podcast player. But it makes sense; if they can offer a superior listening experience for all podcasts (maybe that is what the 40+ engineers have been working on?), then they could get listeners to switch to listening on Luminary and you better believe they will be promoting the heck out of their paid exclusives to anyone using the app without being a subscriber.
So I guess I’m feeling reasonably positive about all this?
Further reading, Lauren Shippen on making a spin-off show for Luminary and Adam Davidson’s tweet thread.