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Is Podcasting the Biggest “Ad Bargain”?

Is Podcasting the Biggest “Ad Bargain”?

Written By

Tom Webster

Know the Author

March 27, 2024

This week, the entire Sounds Profitable team heads to Los Angeles, for a busy week at Podcast Movement Evolutions. This means two things: first, this newsletter will be necessarily short. Second, absolutely no one is left at the office, the Sounds Profitable Tower, located at 1600 Broadway in NYC. Not even the security guards. You could waltz right in.

At the conference, I am going to be giving a sneak preview of our newest research project, The Ad Bargain. Why the name? Well, any time a consumer watches or listens to ad-supported content, there is a bargain struck: they give you their attention for a few ads, and you give them free content that they value. With this project, we wanted to find out how podcasting is holding up its end of the bargain compared to other media channels.

For instance, we asked questions like this:

Where do you think podcasts ended up on this list? I know, and I am not telling – at least until April 3, when we debut The Ad Bargain in a free webinar (you can register here). Let’s assume podcasting did well, however.

One thing I can tell you – for podcasting to thrive, it needs a robust ad-supported economy just as much as it needs direct support, merch, V4V, and every other form of monetization. Whether your podcast is monetized by ads or not, a healthy advertising ecosystem is critical to everything we do, from the tools and tech you use every day, to getting the word out about podcasting to the general public. And the message of The Ad Bargain is a message about podcasting’s power to hold attention, and that’s something we should all care about.

I hope you’ll join us on April 3 – and if you are in LA this week, say hi! I’ll be giving the Thursday afternoon keynote (paired with Song Exploder’s Hrishikesh Hirway) and assorted other talks and panels. This is a critical year for podcasting (no, really), and you can bet we are going to be working hard behind the scenes here at Sounds Profitable to do our part to create a world where creators get paid and great work gets funded.

New Partners

Sounds Profitable exists thanks to the continued support of our amazing partners. Monthly consulting, free tickets to our quarterly events, partner-only webinars, and access to our 1,800+ person slack channel are all benefits of partnering Sounds Profitable.

  • Canadaland is a fiercely independent, people-powered podcast network with a focus on news, media, current affairs, politics, culture, and original investigations.

  • Led by creative husband and wife team, Brendan Rooney and Christy Carlson Romano, PodCo is a dynamic media company focused on capturing gripping conversations between iconic personalities.

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About the author

Tom Webster is a Partner at Sounds Profitable, dedicated to setting the course for the future of the audio business. He is a 25-year veteran audio researcher and trusted advisor to the biggest companies in podcasting, and has dedicated his career to the advancement of podcasting for networks and individuals alike. He has been the co-author and driver behind some of audio’s most influential studies, from the Infinite Dial® series to Share of Ear® and the Podcast Consumer Tracker. Webster has led hundreds of audience research projects on six continents, for some of the most listened-to podcasts and syndicated radio shows in the world. He’s done a card trick for Paula Abdul, shared a martini with Tom Jones, and sold vinyl to Christopher Walken.