Suddenly Losing Your Listeners

The pandemic has made us all change. And not just because of the length of our hair.

Whether it’s Zoom, using Amazon Prime, Disney+ or interacting more with the Smart Speaker, the pandemic has been an accelerant. None of these things existed because of Coronavirus, but their utility was certainly enhanced by it.

Indeed, I expect sans pandemic, the growth curves of all of these things would have been steady, but the last 12 months has probably meant they jumped ahead 12 quarters. Zoom made a $16m pre-tax profit in 2019 and a $660m one in 2020.

Read more…

Opening Super Followers’ Wallets

My mind is still pretty pre-occupied with thoughts about content, talent and subscription. I think this is a combination of Apple/Spotify’s upcoming subscription podcast thing, a really interesting post on ‘Sovereign Writers’ from Ben Thompson and some questions I was asked about this newsletter by Simon Owens on his Creator Collab Substack.

Talent has always been something that’s in-demand by media owners. Investing in talent generally comes from either supporting someone up and coming (and incurring the cost of money and time to get them where you want them to be) or by paying more for someone that has something that you would like. The general business analysis is whether that investment gives a better return than if you continue with an existing operation.

I’d probably argue that media operations (like all jobs) also have a lot of people who fulfil a function that other people, with some training, could also do. Not talentless, but not often part of the talent equation.

Read more…

Follow, Don’t Subscribe

James Cridland does not tend to overstate things or resort to clickbait for his must-read daily podcasting news email – Podnews. So, when he tweeted:

….it definitely resulted in an eyebrow raise.

The news was what could be seen as just a minor change in a podcasting app – but the repercussions are significant.

Apple Podcasts, which is still the core podcast consumption app, is changing the ‘subscribe button’ to a ‘follow button’.

This is the button that signals you want to receive every new episode of a show. It’s also what nearly every podcast in the world uses to encourage their listeners to subscribe to the show.

Read more…

Moving The Needle

Radioplayer yesterday announced a partnership with BMW.

In the press release is this line:

The partnership will see BMW Group using official broadcaster metadata from Radioplayer’s Worldwide Radioplayer API (WRAPI) to help create a brilliant radio interface.

It seems quite innocuous, but it’s something that’s hugely powerful.

Radio is the legacy occupant of the car. It’s been the key to in-car entertainment since 1924, when Kelly’s Motors in New South Wales, Australia installed the first car set. In the 1930s if you wanted an after-fit in your shiny new Ford Model A, you’d be paying $540 for the car, and another $130 for the radio.

Read more…

Bauer, Ireland and the digital future?

Bauer have got their cheque book out again, but this time they have abandoned our fine shores to bunk up with the Irish. They’ve acquired Communicorp Media, the owner of the two national commercial stations Today FM and Newstalk, Dublin’s 98FM, the two Spins and some digital assets too, all for a purported €100m (about £85m). Communicorp’s UK operation (FM stations that, in the main, licence Global’s brands) remains unaffected.

Ireland is an interesting market. Radio’s popular with consumers there, and the fact RTE has advertising too, means pretty much the whole population can be reached through radio – which makes a difference to its share of the country’s advertising Euros.

It’s also heavily regulated, with a limited number of FM radio stations and no real DAB roll-out. If you walk into a station there’s often 30 or 40 people there, with a strong news team and little networking or automation. RTE have national stations, but don’t provide the local competition that say, the BBC does in the UK.

Read more…