Only a handful of the”elite podcasters” actually get money for their unique content. Even though sponsors often times pay on a “cost per listener” in order to advertise on those podcasts, the primary emphasis is on how big their audience is. But whose fault is it that this is the dynamic being looked at?
One reason many sponsors give as to why they only sponsor the elite is that it’s too time-consuming to sponsor small and medium-sized podcasts. That’s why they often set the minimum number of listeners at 50,000 or possibly 10,000 downloads PER EPISODE!
But whose fault is this? We can identify, basically, four different areas in the podcast industry that we can look to in order to answer this question.
1. The sponsors.
2. The podcast hosting / listening platforms.
3. Podcasters themselves.
4. The media / sponsorship companies.
Is it the sponsor’s fault? Not really. It is true, though, that it does take a lot of time and resources for them to research, find, reach out to and negotiate prices with many podcasters. Smaller podcasters may have a great relationship and very high trust factor with their audiences. Since they many know their listeners in real life (or the listeners have actively found their podcast), they are often ignored by the major sponsors.
But the focus for the larger companies is usually on the “return on investment” (ROI). The traditional podcaster just will not produce the ROI these companies are looking for.
Is it the podcast platforms? Well, they are much to blame for the discovery part. So yes, in a way, it is the fault of the platform companies. They make it harder for some podcasts to grow and they tend to keep the elite money makers at the top of their search results. It almost seems like an old monarchy type of society, where the rules are rigged to keep the elite in power. But that really does not provide us the information on “whose fault it really is?”
So, is fault with the podcasters themselves? That’s a huge burden to put on individual podcasters. We can’t really expect hundreds of thousands of podcasters to be able to find sponsors who will want to sponsor just one small podcast. That won’t work in most cases. Also, that would take too much time for podcasters to get enough money to make the time factor profitable to reach out to sponsors. The “ROI” for individual podcasters would be lacking.
Is it the fault of the media / sponsorship companies? In my opinion, they are the actual ones to blame. When podcasting started to grow, so did the interest to make a profit out of the podcasters work. But the companies who were interested seemed to come in with the idea that the same model used for radio would translate to podcasting. But there is a problem with that theory, too.
The problem is, podcasting is not radio!
That is why podcasting is growing so fast! Podcasters do not need to pay so they can be on an individual radio station at a certain time. They can actually be on many different listening platforms, at the same time, listened to whenever and wherever by whoever, on-demand.
Podcasters do not need to have a media empire helping them produce or create their content. Podcasting truly is “by the people, for the people.”
We see many companies whose only focus is on the larger, more popular podcasts. They use the old obsolete radio model as their sponsorship guide. Not only with the podcasts they have on their platforms, but also with the dynamic ad system they insist on using.
Dynamic advertising is where the ads are changed over time, automatically. There is no input from the podcaster. It is all handled by the software at the company level.
Podcasters lose a key characteristic strength when they agree to dynamic ad inserts. The most popular (and most responsive) advertising for podcasters is where the host actually reads the ad during the recording process. This is done “pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll.”
Holding on to an old model might be why some of these companies lose tens of millions of dollars each year in advertising costs each year. Which is also why they are very particular in only dealing with the larger, well-known, podcasts.
Podcasting is truly about the creators. It could be called “grassroots journalism!” This is a new medium, with hundreds of thousands of podcasters, that needs a new model to generate advertising revenue.
Podcasting started off as an amateur platform where everybody could create and publish their own content. You didn’t need an editor in chief or a media publishing giant telling you what to do, what to talk about or how to go about promoting your podcast.
People from all around the world currently record, edit, and publish their own content. Their listeners can listen to their programs whenever and wherever they want to. Truly, citizen journalism in the audio space was created by podcasters and has grown exponentially.
I liken podcasting today to where FM radio was back in the early 1980′s. FM radio was “available” (usually in elevators or doctors offices) but was not widely distributed or listened to. Just as FM radio became a “standard feature” in new cars (instead of “special order”), podcast listening ability is now becoming a “standard feature” in new cars as well. Almost every new car has a USB port and the ability to listen to podcasts through the car stereo system!
To answer the original question, “Is Podcasting Going to Replace Radio,” the answer is “NO.”
However, podcasting is going to take a BIG market segment away from traditional radio. In fact, it has already started. That is why many, smaller radio stations, have gone out of business. It is also evident in the recent published statistics concerning podcast listenership! Podcast listening is growing exponentially!
There is a great example, using an “old saying.” It goes something like this:
“When is the best time to plant a tree? Answer: “Twenty years ago.”
“When is the second best time to plant a tree?” Answer: “Today!”
Concerning podcasting, “When was the best time to start a podcast?
Answer: “Five or six years ago!”
“When is the next best time to start a podcast?” Answer: “TODAY!”
If you have ever considered starting a podcast, now would be the perfect time for you to do so. The exponential growth curve is on the rise. For the foreseeable future, it will continue to grow and the dominance of podcasting will only become greater. Get into podcasting today and “catch the wave!”
Robert Thibodeau has been in online media since