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BW Story on Podcasting Inspired by Podcast Chats


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April 02, 2007

BW Story on Podcasting Inspired by Podcast Chats

Heather Green

I did a story this week for the magazine about the state of business for for some indie podcasters and how only a few, such as Grammar Girl and Keith and The Girl, are making money so far. And how some, such as Skepticality are coming up with inventive ways to get paid for what they do and reach new audiences. In part, the business obstacles are due to a lack of standards for metrics and ad formats. And it's also because the podcasting revolution, as Edison Research shows, is taking a while to reach a tipping point or jump the chasm to a bigger audience. (You chose the cliche.)

What was interesting was how one person I talked with harkened back to some of the expectations that arose around podcasting (like lots of other new technologies), in its early days. One promise was that it would actually bring together the radio audiences being dispursed by their dislike of commercial radio and the other options out there. In fact, though, it looks like podcasting won't be the great unifier, it's just another great fragmenter.

For the most part, the story was inspired by a series of podcasts I have been doing recently on, well, yes, the state of podcasting. When I started doing a weekly podcast about 16 months ago, I kicked it off by interviewing podcasters and then moved on to other kinds of startups. As the year anniversary came and went, I decided to do a series on podcasting and take a deep dive into the state of the podcasting business.

02:59 PM

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Metrics and measurement is only a small part of the puzzle. What makes podcast monetization so elusive is that many people only focus on advertising and sponsorship as the sole way to make money in podcasting.

I, along with the few dozen podcasters I interviewed for my upcoming book on this very topic, made money podcasting from a variety of sources, not just advertising.

Once people - specifically companies looking to advertise and podcasters looking to monetize - see the plethora of ways to make money podcasting, we'll start to see a significant shift in the number of people leaving their day jobs to podcast full-time.

Also, you don't know about MommyCast? The first independent podcast to sign a 6-figure podcast deal with a major corporation? Wow, you missed them in your article. How about JetSetShow? TWIT? Cali Lewis? Left her day job because of her podcast. Julien Smith? Same thing. Amanda Congdon? Got a job in mainstream media due to podcasting. And I have alot more examples.

Posted by: Leesa Barnes at April 2, 2007 06:53 PM

I think as with blogs, if you get into podcasting trying to monetize the cast, it isn't going to work. The ones that are able to make money at both are the ones that are passionate about the tools and medium, and has built their audiences/readership because of their passion.

Posted by: Mack Collier at April 2, 2007 07:13 PM

I agree with you on the fragmenting. It's even fragmenting you, in a sense, because you're now divided into print reporter, online reporter, blogger and podcaster. We're being fragmented and the industry is being fragmented. The users can pick up pieces of whatever they want, whenever they want it. So to visualize it, instead of the traditional pie chart, you almost need a three dimensional matrix. And that's just to understand the dynamics. The business models and revenue flows add to the complexity.

Posted by: steve baker at April 3, 2007 09:11 AM

Hi Leesa,

Thanks for dropping by. Yes, you're right there are other ways to make money podcasting, whether it's consulting or selling goods. But I think that like the rest of the Internet and radio, advertising is considered to be the major opportuninty for podcasting and it still had a lot of work.

Great suggestions on Laporte, Congdon and the Mommycast duo. I decided, since a lot had been written on them, to focus on other podcasters especially ones not doing tech news.

Thanks again, let me know when your book comes out.

Posted by: Heather Green at April 3, 2007 10:21 AM

Your points are well drawn, but you seem to be assuming that all podcasters are after monetization or at least making money doing podcast consulting. What about all the podcasters who use their shows as a way to build their brands, increase their level of credibility in their fields, and reach their target audience, which may indeed be a niche? Many of us also consider our podcasts as a way to build community. We're not necessarily looking for sponsors or advertisers.

Posted by: Donna Papacosta at April 4, 2007 07:58 PM

Hey Donna,

Great point and I agree that most people don't want to make money. And that podcasting for many is a way to build brands and reach a broader audience for other things they do. But in this story I wanted specifically to focus the podcasters who wanted to make this pay.

Posted by: Heather Green at April 5, 2007 11:51 AM


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