Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of the creative effort.– Franklin D. Roosevelt
I read an article in the New York Times, “Surrounded by Big Tech, Small Podcast Shops Swim With Sharks.” The subheading reads, “Independent companies like Prologue Projects, Campside Media and Rococo Punch try different strategies in a market roiled by Silicon Valley and Hollywood.”
The first subject is Leon Neyfakh’s podcast production company, Prologue Projects, and how it needed to seek new funding for its fifth season of “Fiasco” after not getting renewed by Luminary.
The good news is that big tech companies like Amazon, Spotify, Apple and SiriusXM have spent billions in recent years acquiring or developing podcasts.
Here’s the bad news.
“Even if one isn’t swallowed by a bigger fish, the competition for advertisers — critical sources of revenue for many independent podcasters — has intensified as the platforms leverage advanced technology and user bases in the tens or hundreds of millions. Additionally, the sheer volume of new podcasts (Spotify alone now has nearly four million, up from 500,000 in 2019) has made it increasingly challenging to attract and keep audiences.”
Spoiler alert: After considering free, ad-supported, or paywalled models, Neyfakh pivoted “Fiasco” to Audible where the new season will premiere on March 24 as an Audible exclusive.
Wanting to learn more, I read Leon’s tweets.
Wow, $250,000 for a podcast!
As independent podcasters, many of us are used to producing content on a shoestring budget. What’s your budget? Is it in the hundreds of dollars? Maybe, thousands? Sadly, most of us cannot pay ourselves.
Soraya, an NPR editor, weighed in and upped the ante.
Soraya makes good points.
If we are to normalize million-dollar shows, indie podcasters need to step up too. We will need to get serious about monetizing so we can pay ourselves. If we build a great team, we need to pay them too.
Further, we can no longer focus solely on content creation. We must begin to treat our podcast as a business. That means reaching out to sponsors, considering crowdfunding on platforms like Patreon, and partnering with other independent podcasters.
Of course, it will vary depending on your show and audience. Think about what it may look like for your podcast.
It is time to go bigger.
Make your podcast worthy of $1M.
What’s the budget for your podcast? What do you think about going bigger? Post a comment.