Let’s be clear. I’m not knocking advertising new shows across multiple audio networks. All I’m saying is that the industry has become too reliant on marketing to themselves…the loyal listeners that love on-demand audio.
While we love ourselves and podcasting’s dedicated audience, it’s time to break the walls down and advertise beyond our walls.
Advertising To The Same Audience Won’t Grow the Industry
For conversational purposes only, it seems to me that the industry is far too hesitant to market beyond their own core demographics, an existing echo-chamber that reaches the same audience. Yes, modern technology has sparked an avalanche of growing interest in podcasts, both as a listening audience and for those desiring to host their own show.
The traditional ‘radio show’ or ‘television news’ format allows anyone with a recording device and a microphone to serve as host on a specific topic of interest, targeting a select audience. However, the key for most new shows is a marketing strategy that distributes its message to a wider, more diverse audience, enhancing discovery.
That’s why, I believe TV & Radio will play a large role in driving a vast new audience to the podcast sector, accelerating the path to $1 Billion in annual ad revenue. Why? They bring a powerful social media platform that will exponentially accelerate discovery, espcially to those that aren’t utilizing on-demand audio platforms.
Television & Radio Can Help Reach A More Diverse Audience
While existing podcast companies & networks seem all too content focusing on communicating with their ‘existing base of podcast listeners’, the ones that were early adapters, I firmly believe other mediums, particularly Television and Radio, are favorably positioned to make huge strides, especially as executives within those organizations begin to understand the revenue streams that can come with a clear, concise podcast advertising strategy.
What’s most exciting for this traditional medium is that they have the ability to drive a new and diverse audience to discover on-demand listening for the first time, effectively providing these loyal listeners an opportunity to discover a new medium.
Since the Serial revolution, the strides publishers are making to connect audiences with the hosts/shows has been unprecedented. Every month, it seems another network or app is being enhanced, upgraded or rolled out. The demand for podcasting is driving a new revenue renaissance for traditional media outlets, leading to the launch of new podcast studios as well as independents distributing new shows, and branded content podcasts.
Call it the ‘mainstreaming of podcasting‘. as everyone who’s anybody (media personalities) now want a piece of the pie. Media darlings like NBC’s Chuck Todd, on Meet the Press, is now promoting his podcast after his Sunday show, amplifying it via a powerful Television medium that reaches many that have never listened to a podcast, let alone even know where to find it. You can find it here, on Stitchers network: Meet The Press, and we also have it featured within our 90 for 90, under News & Politics.
The Early Adopters Have Failed to Diversify & Expand the Industry
Yes, existing podcast publishers are harnessing the loyalty that podcast listeners have to the hosts. And we don’t blame them for exploiting this one-to-one relationship for the benefit of enhancing and growing their own platforms, rewarding existing listeners to discover other shows that are of a similar nature or cover an additional topic of interest.
As competition becomes even more fierce, reigniting the interest of this existing community is a necessary task, especially as podcast networks aggressively work to sure-up the loyalty of their own listeners.
But has the industry become too reliant on its existing base of early adapters?
I believe the answer is yes and maybe there’s some complacency built in here. And the lack of risk to use resources to go beyond their marketing comfort zone. Even though the central focus is giving podcast listeners more options when it comes to engaging with their favorite shows, the effort still misses the mark in diversifying show selections in the community and expanding promotion beyond the walls of the already affluent listener.
Podcast on Podcast Listener Crime
The podcast community widely engages in cross-promotion for various shows that are similar in nature across one network. It is a fairly simple marketing practice where a podcast show host takes a minute or two to discuss another show on the same network. Let’s call it ‘Podcast Listener on Podcast Listener’ crime (I know you probably don’t like the term…sorry).
At times, the show host may elect to air an entire episode of the secondary podcast show as a way to give listeners an idea of what to expect should they tune into that show. Again, they’re only targeting existing listeners, rather than a new and diverse base of prospects.
No doubt, podcast cross promoting is a viable marketing practice that produces positive results within the community. For that reason, sharing promotional information about another show increases the listening audience ranking for both shows. Cross promotional events can also occur across different networks as well. As the networks see it, they are not in competition with one another but rather working together to strengthen the podcast industry as a whole (iHeart pushes out CBS shows…Spotify pushes out multiple-publisher shows, etc). But again, they are only strengthening their existing audience and doing nothing to expand or diversify it to new listeners.
The one inherent flaw in podcast cross-promotional activities is the lack of exposing listeners to shows outside of the common status-quo. Cross promoting also does not help draw new listeners to the platform.
Television & Radio Will Make Noise Beyond Our Walls
As media giants (and big brands) continue to enter the marketplace, amplifying and promoting podcasts like 60 minutes via their Play.it platform & Meet the Press will drive a wider audience to discover a love for on-demand listening.
Remember, most of these TV personalities have massive social followers too.
As these shows drive a new first-time audience to discover podcasts, these new listeners hopefully will begin to explore the massive echo-chamber of audio content…pushing the entire industry forward.
The production aspect of a podcast show is fairly easy and inexpensive, especially for shows that re-purposing content or extending content for an ‘after-the-show’ experience. This provides Television and Radio a ‘built-in’ platform to assimilate quickly to the podcasting industry. through existing content, via the podcast medium.
If TV & Radio executives ‘fully embrace’ the podcasting platform, it will do wonders in driving discovery to a new, diverse audience…ultimately driving revenues.
Yes, shows like Serial reaped the reward of cross-promotion on This American Life. But there’s no doubt the viral impact of social media. as well as conversations highlighted on Television & Radio, reaching well beyond the walls of podcasts early adapters, will play a vital role on the acceleration of the industry…and take us to $1 Billion in revenues faster than expected!