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Making SXSW Count, Spreaker’s Supporter Club, Podcasting with AI & More

Making SXSW Count, Spreaker’s Supporter Club, Podcasting with AI & More

February 23, 2024

This Week in the Business of Podcasting

We have officially entered the calm before the SXSW storm. Commemorating that, we have one more echo of Super Bowl news paired against a guide to make the most of your trip to Austin this year. Let’s get started!

Greater Trust. Greater Transparency. Better Performance.

Guide to Making the Most of SXSW as a Podcast Professional

This Tuesday from Edward Fuller, founder of Media Bodies: SXSW is less than a month away, and attendees are gearing up for the event. While podcasting steadily gains more foothold in mainstream media, there are still reasons for podcasting professionals to be on the fence when deciding if the week is worth the investment.

Fuller hopes to dispel those concerns. “SXSW presents an unparalleled opportunity. As experts within the podcasting space immersed in a hub of 40,000+ attendees from across brands, agencies, creators, artists, press, production, and more, we have a unique platform to act as thought leaders outside the podcasting community, and introduce more of the marketing and media world to the untapped potential of this medium.”

With Sounds Profitable sponsoring the Sound Summit day of podcasting, this year’s SXSW will have a day of events just for the business of podcasting. Fuller breaks down seven steps on prepping for SXSW to be ready to network the second one arrives in Austin. For instance, getting one’s profile fully set up in the SXSW app and social platform ensures anyone in attendance who might want to get in touch with you (or your company) can do so, as well as set you up for the next step: perusing the attendee directory to build an early lead list.

In addition to priming people to make the most of Sound Summit, Fuller provides three further examples of ways to make the most of the full SXSW week in addition to the Sound Summit. Which, by the way, will take place March 9th at the Thompson Hotel.

AI as a Podcast Cohost

This Wednesday from Tom Webster on the Sounds Profitable newsletter: Tom has hosted quite a few podcast episodes in his time, including quite a few by himself. But solo podcasting without a script remains a bridge too far.

A lot has been written about the dangers of generative AI being used to replace humans in the podcast production process, but Webster proposes a person-forward approach to using AI tools in a way that embraces their dynamic nature. A virtual co-host that helps maintain things behind the scenes, help with brainstorming sessions, and polish grammar in scripts. The goal isn’t to replace the human element that makes a podcast special, it’s to enhance the creator’s voice and stories at the heart of the episode.

From Webster’s conclusion: “Think of AI as the stage and we’re the playwrights, directors, and actors, all rolled into one. This is our moment to take a bold stance on blending technology with artistry in podcasting.”

Spreaker Supporters Club Announced

This Monday, podcasting platform Spreaker unveiled their newest feature, known as the Supporters Club. With the new feature, any podcast hosted on Spreaker can allow listeners to support their podcast through a monthly subscription model. What sets Spreaker’s Supporters Club apart from similar offerings in the industry is the revenue split: 100% of the money given by the podcast audience member goes to the podcaster themselves.

A quote from the official press release: “In a landscape where podcasters rely on diverse revenue streams, Spreaker is committed to revolutionizing the industry by providing an equitable platform that amplifies the connection between creators and their audience. With the addition of the Supporters Club feature, creators now have the opportunity to earn multiple revenue streams all in one place on Spreaker fostering a sustainable and vibrant creative ecosystem.”

New NPR SVP of Podcast Strategy Sees an Optimistic 2024 Ahead

Last Wednesday from Tyler Falk at Current: Collin Campbell, NPR’s new SVP of Podcast Strategy, is optimistic for the coming year. After the company had a turbulent 2023, Campbell says he sees a lot of opportunity to strengthen the network’s podcast portfolio.

Campbell’s new role is a return to public media, having left the sector in 2016. At the time, part of the motivation for leaving to the private sector (Audible, then Gimlet) was due to frustration at the lack of attention podcasting was being paid. Both audiences and producers weren’t getting the attention needed to fully provide audiences with what they want. Now podcasting has grown both as an industry and at NPR specifically.

When asked about ways NPR can grow in podcasting, Campbell points to the two different audiences NPR serves. Those who listen to NPR on traditional radio are able to financially support the company’s continued production via telethons, fundraisers, and calls to directly donate to local affiliate stations. According to Campbell, the overlap between broadcast and podcast audiences listening to NPR is low, almost down to single-digit percentage, and the lack of built-in monetization options in podcasting has been an issue.

Now, with the rise of first-party monetization options from podcast platforms, organizations like NPR can get a shot in the arm. NPR+ on Apple Podcasts serves as a step forward for the company, allowing podcasts to tap into podcast-only audience support in the same way NPR has for decades in traditional broadcast media.

Does ad length affect performance of non-host read ads?

If there’s a notable correlation between host-read ad length and the ability to drive listeners to site (e.g. as ad length increases, visitor rate also increases)…

How does ad length affect non-host reads?

TLDR; not much. In fact, the correlation between ad length and performance for non-host read ads is quite low (0.545), meaning other factors like creative and targeting have a far greater impact on its performance than length.

Quick Hits

While they may not be top story material, the articles below from this week are definitely worth your time: