According to a recent Edison Share of Ear report, 18 percent, or nearly one in five Americans aged 13 and older, say they consume a podcast daily. That is a 20% increase compared to a year ago and more than three times the daily reach for podcasts compared to 2014 when Edison first started these reports. And currently, according to Listen Notes, there are 2.9 million podcasts in existence.
With the growing number of podcasts and increasing audience interest, some new trends are beginning to develop. One of the most notable focuses on the monetization of the podcast. Advertising has traditionally been the source most media use to monetize their product, but the debate between dynamically inserted ads and “baked-in” ads is anything but settled. Survey after survey shows that “host reads” tend to be the most effective for response, but the ease of using dynamically inserted ads—plus the potential for more income—has caused that discussion to continue.
Out of the dust of that quandary, other options have organically risen and now it seems some of them are starting to leave advertising in their wake. According to Muck Rack’s annual State of Podcasting report, more podcasters now rely on subscriptions than traditional advertising. While slightly more than a third (34 percent) of podcasts are supported by advertising, the survey says nearly four in ten (38 percent) podcasters say they are using paid subscriptions to support their shows, which is a 12 percent increase over a year ago. Because of changes in technology, podcast subscriptions have never been easier to create, and that is more than likely one of the deciding factors in moving podcasters in that direction.
Another income source is paid premium content, which 29 percent of those surveyed say they are now using. This is an increase of 17 percent over last year. Some of the most popular premium content is exclusive or bonus episodes (38 percent), followed by early release of new episodes (32 percent), and finally behind-the-scenes content (20 percent).
Interestingly, another income source comes from having guests pay to be on the podcast. Almost a quarter of the podcasters who took the survey are now doing this, up 22 percent from last year.
Apparently, these options are lucrative, as nearly half of those surveyed reported they earn between $50,000 and $100,000 per year as a podcaster. And a quarter made more than $100,000.
Another interesting trend is the introduction of video. According to that survey, roughly two-thirds (67%) say they are recording videos of their podcasts.
Finally, we are seeing more podcasters increasing their number of episodes. Most podcasters still stick to the traditional once-a-week podcast, but fully 31 percent are now doing two or three podcasts per week. That’s an increase from the 24 percent who were doing it last year.
As podcasts continue to increase in popularity, more new trends will emerge that will continue to make this a viable and exciting communications option. The future looks bright.
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