2022-11-02 Brittany Ballard

How Podcasts are Opening Up New Opportunities for Publishers

Learn how publishers around the globe are capitalizing on podcasts to earn more ad revenue and grow subscribers.

I love reading about the latest and great things going on in the media and publishing industry. From learning how newspapers are taking advantage of TikTok to get news to Gen Z to sending out newsletters to sharing premium content for paid subscribers, there are a variety of channels for readers to interact with content. 

One of the hottest topics that has stood out this year to me: podcasts. 

In fact, podcasts are so popular that a new conference dedicated to publisher podcasts, called The Publisher Podcast Summit, launched just this year. 

But just why is this so monumental for today’s publishers?


Improve the Bottom Line with Podcast Ad Revenue

In a world where print subscriptions and print ads are continuing to decline, publishers need to find alternative revenue sources. Of course, digital subscriptions have exploded in the past several years, but it feels like more opportunities become available every day for publishers to take advantage of.  

Podcasts present one of those opportunities with advertisements. The International News Media Association (INMA) reports that in May 2022, “the number of podcast advertisers grew by 42% in the United States.” 

If that is not enough to convince you that podcast ad revenue is a big deal, then take a look at this next statistic. The Publisher Podcast Summit website shares that “ad spend in the UK on podcasts in the next year is forecast to hit £65 million.” And that number only grows when you take the rest of the world into consideration.  

Publishers today are already starting to see the value in podcasts for growing revenue. Take DC Thomson, for example. Christopher Phin, Head of Podcasts at DC Thomson, said that their B2B brand Energy Voice’s podcast Energy Voice Out Loud, was pushing towards six figures in their 2022 fiscal year in just sponsorship revenue – and that is only with an average download of “260-something”! Imagine the revenue that could be seen with an even larger number of listeners.


Providing Audio Options Helps You to Easily Grow Your Subscriber Base

In May 2022, PressGazette reported that The Economist’s monthly podcast listeners were more than double its print subscriber base! Their flagship podcast, The Intelligence, was launched in 2019. Now, it gets about 350,000 downloads an episode and is listened to by over 3 million people a month. The numbers alone prove how influential this is for The Economist’s reach. 

People today crave audio and visual content – and podcasts make it so easy to multitask while staying up to date on the latest news and trends. It is the reason why podcasts are so popular, especially for those who have returned to the office and want to keep themselves busy while commuting to and from home.  

Offer the right quality of content and these subscribers might even be willing to pay for premium podcasts, where you could find an additional revenue stream.


Promote Your Own Publications to Grow Your Readership Base

Just like your favorite television advertisements, this is where I must come in and say, “But wait! There’s more!” 

Publishers have also found that they are able to convert podcast listeners into subscribers for their publications by running their own advertisements – with promos – during the podcasts. Reading Between the Lines was able to convert 2% of listeners into magazine subscribers by doing this.  

And while that number may seem small, if you have converted 2% of 1,000 listeners then you have 20 new paid subscriptions. Scale that up – say, to The Economist’s larger number of podcast listeners – then, that’s about 60,000 people!


Providing an Audio Version of Your Articles

If a podcast doesn’t sound like it is something your team has the bandwidth for right now, then offering an audio version of your articles is still something to look into. By providing another option to consume your content, you will appeal to those of your readers who may prefer audio to text or those that want to stay up to date on the latest news and trends but who may not have the time to read it. 

Danish magazine Zetland saw how useful this was for readers over 5 years ago when they began publishing all content as audio in 2017. Within a year, they saw 70% of all content consumption was audio. 

Luckily, creating an audio version of your content doesn’t have to be hard. At Naviga, we know that a publisher’s time is valuable. That’s why we announced a solution for publishers earlier this year called ZINIO Audio Digest. It takes away the stress of production off publishers’ hands by providing a human-narrated audio summary of a magazine issue, newspaper, or other publication that can easily be shared with your readers.


How to Jump on The Bandwagon and Take Advantage of the Podcast and Audio Content Trend

If you have not started a podcast yet, it is something to seriously consider if you are looking to improve the bottom line and grow your subscription base – especially when your competitors may already be looking into moving into that space. A great place to start is by having the right Order Management System to track advertisements and report on ad sales. 

Don’t have the right sources in-house to produce a podcast? Then you might want to look for reputable sources that could help you with creating them, such as ZINIO’s Audio Digest mentioned above. 

All around, podcasts seem like a win-win to me! Now we just need to figure out how to monetize TikTok dancing videos… but that’s a topic for next time. 

Interested in how Naviga can help you track podcast advertising opportunities? Reach out today to learn more!