In this podcast, Seth discusses the business of podcast and what the future holds for this new and fast-growing form of media. We are seeing a cultural and intellectual schism about how people are consuming this medium.
For many forms of media, money is the main driving factor. Cable news, for example, makes money by feeding us the emotions of fear and the sense of crisis. When people are fearful or angry, they tune in to cable news. Cable news wants to keep us tuned in by looking for things that could stir up fear and uncertainty. The attention we give to the cable new earns them money.
With very few exceptions, podcasts are a lot like the bookstore. They are filled with thoughtful conversations among people who care about specific topics. But can we turn a new medium like podcast into a money-making venture. Perhaps we need first to understand a couple of concepts of how advertising works.
First, the age of the medium does impact the monetization of the medium. Newspapers, the oldest medium, get the most ad dollars per hour, followed by magazines, the Internet, radio, TV, and, lastly, podcast. We can see, when people buying ads, they are still going with the entrenched industries, or the safe choices. Internet may appear to be an exception to the rule, but, unlike other media which are brand marketing, Internet is also a direct marketing medium.
Second, brand marketing works for traditional media because those media are based on the scarcity model. There is a fixed number of TV networks and cable channels. There are only a handful of giant magazines that reach the masses. There are limited time-slots on TV and limited page-slots for newspapers and magazines. If we do not buy the brand ads on those channels, we run the risk of having our voice being blocked out by our competitors.
Podcasting, on the other hand, work differently. It is a relatively new medium for brand marketing, so it does not have the track records of the old media. Podcast also does not have a scarcity issue. It is inexpensive to produce a podcast, especially when compared to other forms of medium.
So, what we know is that podcasts do not need short-term oriented advertisers. Instead, they need patient, long-term advertisers who understand that the podcaster is talking directly to curious, smart people who care about a subject. The podcasters also are volunteers who regularly spend time in building an intimate relationship with their audience.
People in the podcast business are generally talented, open-hearted, and wanting to work to make the medium better. This new form of medium is not going to go away. In the long run, the podcast medium might look like a bookstore model. The bookstore model says no one ever got rich owning a bookstore, and we should produce a podcast because we genuinely want to. Not because we want to get rich doing podcast.