Hey Podcasting, Don’t Do What Radio Does

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Radio is trying to generate revenue any way it can.

Actually, radio has been trying to generate revenue any way it can for many, many years — very often with free ads, free or cheap website banner ads, free or dirt-cheap remotes, free or near-free weather billboards, etc. (Some call this “added value.”)

It’s a race to the bottom and it’s not been working. During a recession or a pandemic, “added value” still requires advertisers to spend money they may not have. So then you ending up doing 3-for-1 or “Buy station W and get stations X, Y, and Z for $1 a spot.”

I’m calling it now: Podcasting will probably go the same way.

Podcast host and monetization company Audioboom recently announced:

We implore the talent to go well over the sixty seconds in duration and to keep the ads as organic as possible. As a result, when calculating the added value due to length of ads, Audioboom stands out from the overall industry.

It’s one thing to ask podcast talent to ad-lib, “go long,” and have fun in ad reads. It’s another to announce to the world — with charts and graphs — how much longer your talent goes.

From the Audioboom post:

Here’s what happens now:

Audioboom announced that its talent goes well beyond the standard sixty second read more often than non-Audioboom talent. Not to be outdone, another monetization firm gently encourages talent to go slightly longer than Audioboom’s talent. Now the average sixy second read (in the True Crime genre) goes from 74 seconds to 84. Then 94. You see where this is headed?

Sure, even if Audiboom hadn’t announced this publicly, ad agencies have likely done the research to discover which podcast hosts give more “bang for the buck.” But why make this a leg on which your company’s revenue stands?

The end of the Audioboom post reads:

…how many other industries could bring $400 million of added value to their customers?

Translation: “We are announcing to the world that we encouraged our talent to give away $400 million in free advertising — so game on.”

Hey podcasting, take it from radio — you don’t want to be in this race to the bottom.