Two important semi-related events occurred in the podcast world in the last couple of weeks. Both Panoply and BuzzFeed curtailed—and in Panoply’s case, eliminated—producing podcasts.
How can this be? We all thought there was nothing that could stop the podcasting steamroller. Audience is growing. Ad revenue is growing.
Panoply is wisely playing the numbers. It has shifted its model to aggregating other producers’ podcasts in its new ad serving platform, Megaphone, which offers advanced audience targeting in association with Nielsen.
BuzzFeed, on the other hand, is having third-party producers take over a thinner version of its portfolio to save on production costs and is refocusing on its own video production.
Professional podcast production is darn expensive. Not as expensive as TV, of course, but still requiring skilled people with editorial, production, audio engineering and editing, and marketing chops. It takes time to see a return on investment, if any. It is much easier to create revenue by letting other producers absorb the production risk and work out a revenue split. There’s good piece from Poynter on the topic.
Without Panoply’s in-house editorial and production staff, the path ahead is unclear for Panoply Custom, the production arm that creates custom podcasts exclusively for a single advertiser. But have no fear, Collisions is able and willing to pick up the mantle.
Three interesting trends we’ve noticed lately are the proliferation of local, daily and short podcasts.
Podcasting has no geographic boundaries. There are no transmitters or licenses required. Once a podcast is out there, the world has access to it. So why limit a podcast, the theory goes, to provincial interests and, thus, limit the audience potential? That was the initial strategy of most publishers.
Many TV stations, newspapers, radio stations, businesses, and organizations have now come to realize the potential high engagement of the podcast audience, and don’t necessarily need to generate the boxcar number of a TedTalks or Serial to accomplish their goals. Local media entities have a new arrow in their quivers to sling at local advertisers. And for some other local businesses and organizations, ad revenue isn’t the goal; they have other motives to reach their hometown constituencies, including growing their own influence base.
That said, marketers interested in the double whammy of local AND podcast engagement should definitely consider the potency of local podcasts.
The New York Times “The Daily” is to daily podcasts what Serial was to podcasting in general. Since the dropping of its first episode in February 2017, almost all national news outlets—NBC, PBS, CNN, ABC, many local news outlets as well as AM/FM radio stations and others—who have fresh content to serve up every day are jumping into the pool. Look for more and more “dailies” as the convergence of radio and podcasting become the norm.
We’re not talking here about the 20-minute kind. The podosphere is dotted now with “short-short” podcasts 10 minutes or under. Here are a few. From a marketing perspective, short podcasts deserve attention. There usually are only one or two ads, and people are listening to the entire show—so there’s less chance of bailing out early. Also, because they’re so short, people are less likely to speed-listen through them or skip ahead. Watch—or should we say, listen—for a new audio service, Synth, which publishes 256-second podcasts, kind of like audio’s version of Twitter.
B2B podcasts on the rise but use different distribution methods and metrics… Here’s a scary headline from The Verge: Amazon Wants Alexa to be the Operating System of Your Life. Plug of the Month: If you or someone you love has ADHD (most creative marketers have it), take note: October is ADHD month and our podcast Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell is the #1 ADHD podcast. Give it a listen; we think you’ll like it.