This Week in the Business of Podcasting
Next week Sounds Profitable is headed to the bright lights and big city, with our final big partner event of the year in Manhattan this coming Tuesday. I look forward to seeing you all there! As I count down the hours to my first New York bagel, it’s crack in to the news of the week.
Track behaviors, trends, and insights: Download Magellan AI’s podcast advertising benchmark report for Q2
RAJAR: UK Podcast Weekly Reach Has Doubled Since 2017
Last Friday from Ella Sagar at The Media Leader: The 2023 edition of RAJAR’s Midas report says podcasts have doubled weekly reach in the United Kingdom in six years. Before we get into it, a quick rundown of acronyms: RAJAR, which stands for Radio Joint Audience Research, publishes a yearly report on the state of audio on the Measurement of Internet-Delivered Audio Services, or MIDAS.
According to the report, podcasting’s weekly UK reach rose from 10.3% in 2017 to 22.1% in 2023. Now just over one in five people in the U.K have listened to a podcast in the last week.
Midas also gives a snapshot of how people are listening to audio. Mobile listening dominates with 76% of respondents, followed by 11% listening to podcast on laptops, tablets at 6%, and smart speakers at 4%.
Similarly to statistics from the U.S., podcasting remains a primarily solo activity for adults in the U.K, as 94% of respondents listen to podcasts alone. Music has a little higher success rate with group-listening, with 34% of respondents co-listening to on-demand music with others.
Ad Revenue Growing Faster Than Expected
This Tuesday from Ryan Barwick at Marketing Brew: Industry analyst and former Group M executive Brian Wieser forecasts ad revenue (excluding political ad spend) will grow 5.9% this year, nearly 1% more than a previous prediction in September.
He has also updated his prediction for next year from 4.3% ad revenue growth to 5.2%. This new forecast takes into account expected holiday shopping increases for 2023, estimated to hit 3 to 4% growth by the National Retail Federation. Not as high as numbers from 2020 or 2021, but still on par with pre-pandemic averages.
Podcast Guesting Drives Defector Subscriptions
On November 14th, Defector Media published their annual report covering the site’s finances from September 2022 through August of this year. Defector Media operates the sports and culture blog Defector, which was formed in the aftermath of 2019’s “stick to sports” controversy that lead to a mass exodus of writers from the sports blog Deadspin.
Since its inception in 2020, the blog has seen steady growth, maintaining around $100,000 more revenue than operating expenses over 2022 and 2023. The annual report contains an impressive amount of transparency on both the finance side, and breaking down the strategies and performance of money-making initiatives. Defector is largely supported by paid subscriptions, and this is where podcasting comes in.
Part of Defector’s strategy in 2023 has involved a focus on overall awareness of the brand through non-social channels, specifically by having staffers appear as guests on podcasts and radio programs. A strategy that is working out. A quote from the report:
“It’s hard to measure the impact of these efforts, but enough new subscribers say something to the effect of “I heard/read about you on this other podcast/show/magazine/website” that our staff will continue to show up elsewhere in the media ecosystem.”
It’s no secret that sports-related podcast content performs well, and Defector’s success in converting subscriptions from guest appearances on relevant podcasts serves as further anecdotal evidence of that, as well as the overall power of well-planned, relevant podcast cross-promotion.
Branded Podcast Enables Better Coverage, Connection With Fans
Earlier this month Arielle Feger, writing for Insider Intelligence, covered how three brands have fostered and maintained their cult followings. While the article encompasses Erewhon, H-E-B, and Trader Joe’s, we’d like to just focus on the latter.
When discussing the popular grocery store chain, the article sources multiple episodes of Inside Trader Joe’s, the official branded podcast produced by Sound that BRANDS. In one episode, host Matt Sloan explains the economics behind grocery store loyalty programs that offer discounts, how they go against the culture of Trader Joe’s, and why one will likely never be implemented at the company. In another, Trader Joe’s CEO Bryan Palbaum guested on the show to address rumors that the company was planning to implement self-checkout kiosks. A quote from that episode:
“We believe in people. We’re not trying to get rid of our crew members for efficiency’s sake.”
While not intentional, this article does show some of the power of a branded podcast. Simply by existing, Inside Trader Joe’s acts as a passive first-party resource for journalists looking to cover the company, including easily demonstrating the company’s core values. The podcast also acts as a direct line of communication from higher-ups to the company’s most engaged supporters. Not only did Palbaum publicly denounce a rumor about the company in a place a journalist might quote, he said it directly to customers most likely to generate word-of-mouth.
Branded audio is a powerful tool and it’s growing fast. We recommend checking out the Brands in Audio database to see just how many branded podcasts there are, and who’s making them.
Industry Insights with Magellan AI
In Q1’23 average ad loads dipped Q/Q from 5.95% to 5.56%, a 0.4% decrease. That decrease was more notable on shows ranking within the Top 500-3000 where ad loads in that category decreased by 0.7% Q/Q. Conversely ad loads were much flatter in the Top 500 category where they decreased by just 0.08% Q/Q.
Looking to get a handle on podcast advertising metrics? Book a demo with the Magellan AI team.
While they may not be top story material, the articles below from this week are definitely worth your time:
- Putting Success In Your Way With Video by Tom Webster. With the growth of video podcasting, it’s time to re-examine how podcasting thinks about audiences watching podcasts instead of listening. Tom Webster breaks down the differences, and how the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
- Age of Audio: A Tale of Modern Audio Storytelling. Podcast producer Ronald Young Jr. has published a trailer and IndieGoGo campaign to fund the completion of a documentary about the evolution of narrative audio in podcasting, featuring interviews with notable podcasters like Ira Glass, Avery Trufelman, and our very own Tom Webster.
- How audience-first creative is amplifying audio and video campaigns for 2024 by Alex Donics. Spotify’s global director of demand marketing talks through the power of effective advertising and highlights the key ingredient of a well-produced, authentic ad creative.
- Realm & IGN Strike Podcast Deal Including Scripted Adaptation Of Justin Roiland Videogame ‘High On Life’ From Squanch Games by Peter White. Audio fiction production company Realm has signed a deal with IGN to produce podcasts based on video game IP. Given the size and connections of IGN, this could lead to a whole new niche of licensed audio fiction based on video games.
- New Podcast Audience Profiles Now Available for Publishers in the Australian Podcast Ranker. Triton Digital and Commercial Radio & Audio have announced new podcast audience profiles are now available with the launch of Podcast Metrics Demos+