As we head full-speed into Podcast Movement and our expanded 3-day “Broadcasters Meet Podcasters” track, the buzz over this conference is building quickly. (For a look at our schedule of panels, sessions, and keynotes, click here.)
A major topic again this year is going to revolve around monetization. And one of the not-so-dirty little secrets about some of the biggest and best podcasts is the ways in which some are able to tack on large amounts of revenue to their expanding bottom lines.
As podcast gurus debate a subscription model versus ad insertion, some of the smartest podcasting personalities in the business are going around the back door, building event marketing platforms – many of which are fabulously working.
Earlier this week, Axios' Sara Fischer posted an eyebrow-raising story – “Podcast Events Are Making A Killing.” In the chart below from Vivid Seats, you can clearly see the trajectory. Overall, total podcast performances are up more than 2000% in just the past six years.
And some of the ticket prices here are on the steep side. But that's the price fans are willing to pay to see their favorite podcast stars up close in a theater setting. Note the only public radio show on this list is Wait, Wait….
As Fischer notes, a common thread to many of the podcasts listed above is that they're personality-driven. To anyone who has worked in radio for more than a couple of cups of coffee, this is no surprise. But it goes beyond that. Fischer notes that successful podcasters with the ability to pull off live events “have been able to develop very strong personal relationships.” She attributes that to the power of the spoken word (over the written one).
This is another example of “non-traditional revenue” at work – a show's ability to put butts in seats. It provides audiences a more intimate, inside, behind-the-scenes look at their favorite podcast hosts. And it underscores that broadcasters may be able to learn a thing or two from podcasters.
It's not that morning show hosts and other personalities have been unable to leverage their personas to the level where audiences are willing to pay to see them in a theater setting. Over the years, I can think of only a handful of shows that have been able to pull this off.
A modern-day example is KISS' (WXKS/Boston) venerable morning icon, Matt Siegel. His “An evening With Matty In The Morning” series, launched last year, has now sold out its ninth show – impressive for a broadcast radio show.
Podcasters have a definitive edge in this arena because their shows are (generally) not locally-different, affording the best of the best to go “on tour,” much like a popular band, touching fans in market after market.
But the success of these theater shows goes well beyond their national or international footprint.
Special thanks to Lori Lewis.