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How do podcasts make money?

What are some good tips for successfully monetizing a podcast? Originally appeared on Quora: a place to receive and share knowledge, empower people to learn from others and understand the world better.

Podglomerate founder and CEO Jeff Umbro responded on Quora:

Whenever someone asks me how a podcast can be demonetized, I go back to a 2014 tweet storm from Andreessen Horowitz cofounder Mark Andreessen. You can find a beautiful version of that rant here, but Mark was very optimistic about where the media was, and was very generous with his ideas of how one could through the medium, including podcasting in 2020 . He broke it into 8 buckets, which I have applied for podcasting. This list is a complete medium, but it will give readers a good place to start.

1. Advertising: The history of podcast advertising is short, as this medium has not existed for a very long time. I don’t know who did it first or how they found their brand or show, but in 2018 the brands spent $ 479 million dollars in the podcast space, up 53% from 2017. It is predicted that the market will cross $ 1 billion in 2021, but I don’t know that we will have to wait for that time either. If you run a podcast with a dedicated and engaged audience, there is probably a brand that is willing to spend money to reach your audience.

There are a lot of nuances to this, but there are three main ways you can sell ads on your podcast:

  • Direct to the brand: If you represent a podcast that meets the audience and demographic thresholds of a brand, you can advertise on your show through proleol, midroll, or postroll ads based on cost determined by both parties Can sell directly to the brand, which is commonly represented. On a CPM (cost per 1,000 download) model. These advertisements are typically product support, direct response, and host-read.
  • Through an agency: Podcast advertising agencies work as an intermediary or broker for a brand, or as a marketer. For example, agencies such as Veritone One, Advertising Results or Havas Edge represent clients such as LinkedIn, Noimi and Embark. These agencies will train podcasts and the talent involved, and plan a large, concrete campaign on behalf of their clients. They have a special and specific way of buying advertising, and usually have a quarterly plan. There are also podcast marketplaces such as Advertisecast that allow podcasters to list their shows and inventory for brands to browse and select.
  • Programmatic: One of the fastest growing sectors in the podcast advertising market is programmatic advertising, which you can identify as non-host advertising appearing in podcasts. Brands will typically purchase programmatic space using audience demographics, as opposed to selecting specific shows and genres. Some players in the region include Megaphone’s target market, Art19 and Acast.

2. Subscription: Podcast subscriptions have sprung up in a few different forms in recent years, but not through new mediums. This is a simple enough concept – if you put your podcast behind a paywall, you’re usually transitioning from a free, ad-supported podcast to a subscription-based service. Examples include Stitcher Premium, Luminary and Brew, as well as some notable-enough-but almost podcast options such as Audible or Serial Box. You can also count Spotify in this camp.

3. Premium Content: Premium content touches the line between ad-supported and subscription models quite well. Using platforms such as Patreon, Glow, and Supporting Cast, podcasters can provide premium content to their most rigid listeners for a recurring, monthly fee, but still allow for a free listening tier that allows premium content Helps funnel more listeners. This allows a lot of podcasters to secure a healthy base salary that does not depend on advertising revenue. Here is a list of the top earners among podcasters on Pateron, which in some cases is not a small amount of money, and a blog post from Jack Rysder of the excellent Darknet Diaries podcast detailing his 2019 Pateron earnings. It is also a possible model for large media outlets: see Slate Plus. I will also include initiatives like paid goods under premium content, ie your audience is ready to pay something.

4. Conferences and Events: If your podcast can present the audience in real life, events are a great way to bring in some extra revenue and help the community. In the larger scheme of things, there are some podcasts that have the resources and audiences to pull off a proper live event, but if your show lends itself to the stage, there is a real opportunity. A recent report by Axios suggests that it may be attractive. The line is straight from Andreessen, and though cynical, is quite accurate: “Bits are increasingly abundant, and human presence is becoming scarce. So charge for that deficiency, and demand human presence using bits . ”

5. Cross-media: The podcast space has become a mature field for developing intellectual property that can be transformed into television, film, books, blogs, and more. Hollywood production companies are increasingly viewing podcasts as cheap vehicles to test the storylines and build a fan base before pouring large amounts of capital into development. The same is true for book publishers, television makers, editors, and more. Examples include Jimlet Studios (Alex, Inc., Homecoming, Dolores Roach, Ripley All), Vandy (Dr. Death, Dirty John, etc.), Welcome to Night Vale (here too), Adventure Zone (here are Geruin, Etc.)), Bodega Boys (Dessus & Mero), HBO (Pod Save America, 2 Dope Queens, etc.). And each of these cross-media properties go full circle and help the original podcast grow;)

6. Crowdfunding: Like every other form of media, direct funding from fanbase can be really powerful. There are all kinds of examples of this dating in the 70s NPR Audience Fund Drive, but they have adapted to a slightly different form in recent years. Like Bernie Sanders, at the age of Kickstarter, with little donations one can crowdfund their campaign, anyone can build something and ask for help from their friends and family (see here and here) – to do so There is also a whole genre of podcasts created. Well. The history of the various parties doing this is also so good that the success of the campaign became more like a story than a campaign goal, such as Radiotopia’s annual fundraiser or Planet Money’s T-shirt campaign (at least on startup) At most. Here are a ton of examples of successful crowdfunding Kickstarter for radio and broadcast if you need inspiration (special shoutout to MaxFundDrive). You should not be obliged to limit donations to special fund drives and projects, as podcasts have frequent donation links and tip jars available on the site. In a fashion similar to premium content, if you are working to create something for which people find value, they are usually willing to pay for it.

7. Bitcoin for Micropayments: There are some notable examples, where podcasting platforms like Castbox have tried to implement microelements, but I am not an expert on this space and I cannot speak for the success of these projects. If you’re interested in learning more about it, I recommend listening to season 1 of Zigzag Podcast with Manas Zomorodi and Jane Poynt, where they trace the birth of something called Civil Coin.

8. Philanthropy: As a non-expert in this field, I will quote Andreessen directly here: “Today’s examples are Pro Public and First Look Media, there may be many more examples tomorrow. The US alone invests approximately $ 300 billion per year in philanthropic activity. This has been reduced to the news business. “And adding my two cents, there are a lot of amazing organizations that are using grants to create new audio projects. This is definitely a direction that will be ripe to explore.

As mentioned earlier, this is not an exhaustive list, but will give readers room to begin their research.

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