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The Roost Acquired by Night, True Crime’s Success in Podcasting, & More

The Roost Acquired by Night, True Crime’s Success in Podcasting, & More

April 12, 2024

This Week in the Business of Podcasting

Spring has sprung in our corner of the world. As we out Midwest-way start to fly kites and fire up the grill, I’ve got a basket of stories this week centering around potential, renewal, and looking to the future.

Let’s get started.

Transparency. Performance. Automation.

48 Hours Shows Power of Broadcast-to-Podcast

Last Wednesday from Natalie Korach at The Wrap: The CBS true crime series 48 Hours, a mainstay of the field that has been on air since 1988, has decades of backlog to work with when generating new content, as well as revisiting stories with new information. A quote from the article:

“The franchise is seeing growth not just on broadcast, but on its expanded offerings including podcasts, streaming, and social media content, with the production team led by [executive producer Judy] Tygard constantly finding ways to reach new audiences for true crime reporting.”

Similar to NBC’s Dateline podcasting debut, 48 Hours has rocketed up True Crime charts by adapting episodes of the original show into audio. The podcast has then been bolstered by promotion on the ‘parent’ version of the program still airing on broadcast TV, as well as in traditional advertising methods. The success of legacy true crime shows making the jump to podcasting further demonstrates how powerful a podcast can be for distributing content, while also showing how quickly a podcast can grow if advertised to the wide world outside podcasting. A move that both builds the podcast’s reach, and brings new people into the medium overall.

This Week in Podcasting Acquisitions

Reported this Monday in The Verge, Variety, Bloomberg, and The Hollywood Reporter: Night Talent Management, which represents high-profile YouTubers and Twitch streamers like Mr Beast and Kai Cenat, has acquired The Roost podcast network (formerly of Warner Bros. Discovery’s Rooster Teeth). While the specifics of the deal have not been disclosed, Night has said the majority of the network’s 47 shows and team will remain, including The Roost head A.J. Feliciano.

The Roost’s portfolio of video-forward podcasting includes a stable of content creator-fronted shows, such as The H3 Podcast, This Past Weekend with Theo Vonn, and Phillip Defranco’s A Conversation With. A quote from Feliciano:

“The team at The Roost is excited to join Night, a forward-thinking company that has long understood the potential of creators. The future of podcasting sits at the heart of the creator economy, and this endeavor propels that vision.”

Night CEO Reed Duchsher says the company is committed to maintaining The Roost’s autonomy and integrity.

The acquisition creates a Rooster Teeth bond between the companies, as current Night president Ezra Cooperstein was President of RT from 2018 to 2019.

Meanwhile, on Monday Deadline’s Peter White covered the acquisition of Neon Hum. The company, known for Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s Dinner’s On Me and the true crime franchise Smoke Screen, comes five years after Sony’s strategic investment in the company. As part of the acquisition, Neon Hum will continue to develop podcasts for Sony Music’s subscription channel The Binge. Company founder Jonathan Hirsch will become VP, Global Podcasts and Head of U.S. Creative at Sony Music’s Global Podcast Division.

Steve Ackerman, Head of Global Podcasts at Sony Music says the move allows Sony to maximize Neon Hum’s creative and production input as they grow Sony’s roster of original and client podcasts.

The Breakfast Club interview flexes podcasting’s might

Last Thursday from Bloomberg’s Ashley Carman: A recent episode of The Breakfast Club served as an example of how podcasts can be an effective tool for hard-hitting journalism.

On March 29th the long-running morning show interviewed embroiled New York City mayor Eric Adams, known for his tendency to avoid complicated conversations with journalists. Seizing the opportunity, The Breakfast Club brought in a public defender at the Legal Aid Society to run the interview. What followed was a heated conversation that racked up over 500,000 views on YouTube since publication, with clips also finding traction on platforms like TikTok.

While successful, it’s worth noting The Breakfast Club specifically benefits from being a live radio show and years of brand-building. It would be far more difficult for an interview guest to weather the negative PR of walking out of a radio station live on air than it would be to simply leave a podcast studio minutes into a recording session.

If journalistic podcasts are to thrive outside of asking pre-approved softball questions, those productions will need the financial backing of brands to keep the show going even if a big-name interview falls apart. Podcasters need financial security to be able to ask challenging questions that might turn a 50 minute interview into a 5 minute one.

Testing the Power of Host-read, Announcer-read, and ‘Talent-read’

This Tuesday from Signal Hill Insight’s Paul Riismandel: Gumball VP of Creator Partnerships Dane Cardiel approached Signal Hill Insights with a hypothesis: a host-read podcast ad might remain effective if run on a different podcast.

The study, run by Signal Hill Insights in collaboration with Gumball and hosting platform Art19, tested that hypothesis using a ad. 800 podcast listeners were played one of five different ad reads covering host-read, announcer-read, and the new hybrid ‘talent-read’, all using the exact same copy. The survey used the ad on the ‘talent’ podcast, an adjacent show with a similar audience, and a neutral show in a different genre.

The results found host-read performed the best with strong lift metrics for familiarity, affinity, and purchase intent. Talent-read came second overall, but announcer-read still performed strongly in top-funnel metrics like Familiarity and Affinity across all three podcasts.

As Tom Webster noted during his Evolutions keynote speech, studies like After These Messages show host-read and announcer-read need not be in competition. They each have unique strengths at different parts of the marketing funnel. The full SHI study on ‘Talent Reads’ is now available on their site.

Generation Alpha’s Getting Into Sports

From eMarketer’s Sara Lebow: Morning Consult has published their second annual report on Generation Alpha (those born between the early 2010s and now) and their media consumption habits. The survey interviewed parents of Gen Alpha kids. Key findings include children ten and younger are already engaged with streaming and social media, including sports content. 60% of respondents have watched a pro sports event on TV and 47% have watched a college game on TV. 18% have already participated in fantasy leagues.

Two of the fastest-growing podcast genres are Sports, and Kids & Family. Given their momentum, there’s potential synergy for a wave of kid-friendly sports podcasts. And they might have audiences outside Gen Alpha as well. Consider Paramount’s Nickelodeon-themed coverage of the Super Bowl, featuring live 3D animated characters and game commentary from in-character Spongebob Squarepants voice actors.

Both during the game and in the days that followed, TikTok saw a flood of videos from adults who don’t normally watch NFL games sharing their favorite moments from the Nickelodeon version of the Super Bowl. Making mainstream sports more accessible and fun to newer audiences seems like a slam dunk for podcasting.

Quick Hits

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