The world of media has been a roller coaster these past many months. But podcasting has been somewhat impervious to the vagaries of the pandemic
The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) reported podcast revenue actually grew in 2020, accruing more than $840 million. Most observers predict the platform will break the $1 billion barrier this year.
And it's even more bullish for podcasting from there. Revenues are expected to hit $2 billion in 2023. Not bad for a medium where four in ten Americans still have little-to-nothing to do with podcasts.
That's part of the reason why every celebrity is seemingly doing a podcast, and why not a day goes by without hearing the news about an exciting new show.
In fact, Daniel J. Lewis's Podcast Industry Insights keeps track of this stuff, including how many podcasts exist. I checked in with his real-time counter, and learned there are now more than 2 million podcasts for consumers to sift through.
But are there really?
Earlier this year, Steve Goldstein's Amplifi Media did the dirty work, and examined the numbers. In a blog post he called “Why there really aren't 2 million podcasts,” Steve examined the numbers.
He learned that roughly one in four podcasts are out of business or never got off the launching pad. An unbelievable 26% of podcasts produced only one episode.
You've heard of “pod fade” – a podcast that runs out of gas, money, and energy after awhile? This is more like “pod crash.” As Steve notes, one and done.
Clearly producing a viable podcast that generates a respectable fan base is much harder than it looks. For every Joe Rogan, and “My Favorite Murder,” there are thousand of podcasts that are not ready for prime time. Or anytime.
So, when I saw this LinkedIn post from my friend Steve Licktieg, I cringed. (All Steve said was “ugh,” and that said it all).
There it is – a simple solicitation from Anchor (now owned by Spotify), the do-it-yourself podcasting platform – to produce a podcast in an hour.
The piece makes it sound like any numbskull can create a podcast. After explaining you'll need a smartphone for recording and editing your show, the team at Anchor suggests you spend as much as 10 minutes choosing your topic and your format.
They even included this tweet from Bridal Bitch so you wouldn't feel like you're the only one who struggles about what your podcast should be about.
Sometimes I really want to start a podcast but I have no clue what I would talk about
— BridalBitch (@korriewarbler) September 18, 2019
They note that if you're passionate about your topic, it'll “make it easier to find new episode ideas.
How will you spend the rest of the hour? The Anchor gurus suggest another 10 minutes to outline your pilot episode, a whole quarter hour to record it, 10 minutes to edit it (including/inserting background music), and 5 minutes to launch it which also entails coming up with a cool title.
In just one hour, you've created another podcast that's dead on arrival for Lewis' counter and Goldstein's analysis.
Instead, it may be time and money better spent if you attended Podcast Movement next month in Nashville. You'd be surrounded by a bevy of podcasters, almost all of who spend more than an hour on their shows.
Our Seth Resler will once again host an invaluable session for podcasting neophytes, “The 30-Second Challenge.” The thought behind this panel is to focus on the opening seconds of podcasts – that make or break moment when listeners decide to stay with your show or go elsewhere.
Seth has a star-studded lineup of panelists, including Bobby Bones, Sandy Girard (SVP/Programming, Crooked Media), and broadcaster/podcaster Elaina Smith.
The team will listen to the first 30-seconds of actual podcasts, and make their call. If you'd like them to grade your podcast, you can get more info and submit your podcast here.
If podcasting is to attain respect and sustainability, the quality will need to reach that next level. Anchor does no one any favors by suggesting content creation is something no more complex than building an IKEA chair.
If anything, we've learned that writing and producing a podcast is more difficult than a radio show.
Put that paint-by-numbers kit away.