Barstool Sports has 25 podcasts and brought in $15 million from them last year
Barstool Sports recorded more than $15 million in podcasting revenue in 2018, according to a source. Erika Nardini, CEO of Barstool Sports, declined to comment on how much revenue Barstool’s podcasts generated last year, but confirmed that it has become a meaningful business for the company. Half of Barstool’s advertising revenue is from podcasts, Nardini said.
Barstool’s network of podcasts currently consists of 25 active shows. Top shows include “Pardon My Take” (which is a top-10 U.S. podcast according to podcast measurement firm Podtrac); “Spittin Chiclets” (an NHL-focused podcast with former players Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonnette); “Call Her Daddy” (sex and relationships); and “Fore Play.”
The cumulative reach across all of Barstool’s podcasts was 7.9 million uniques in January, up from 4.3 million unique viewers a year ago, according to Podtrac data provided by Barstool. Podcasts were also downloaded 37.9 million times in January, up from 19.9 million in January 2018, Nardini said. This has helped make Barstool a top-10 podcast publisher in the U.S., according to Podtrac. It ranked above such well-known media brands as ESPN but still trailed podcast heavyweights like NPR and The New York Times.
Audience growth is translating into revenue. Barstool has already sold 50 percent of its expected 2019 podcast inventory upfront, Nardini said. The average rate per spot grew 30 percent year over year. Other existing sponsors for Barstool podcasts include New Amsterdam vodka, FanDuel and SeatGeek.
Barstool’s podcasts are anchored by personalities, such as Dan Katz and PFTCommenter on “Pardon My Take.” This influencer approach has helped bring in loyal audiences and also turn some of these shows into franchises that can deliver different forms of revenue. For example, “Call Her Daddy” — which is a real name for a show in which hosts Alex Cooper and Sofia Franklyn talk about sex and relationships while living in New York City — is sponsored by men’s health brand Roman, but Barstool also creates merch for fans of the show. It has also become Barstool Sports’ second-biggest podcast, after “Pardon My Take,” and 70 percent of the audience is female, Nardini said.
“Podcasts are the single most compelling way we create IP,” said Nardini. “And it’s very natural for Barstool — podcasts and blogs are not that different.”
The podcasting market is growing, although still small. Podcast ad revenues are expected to reach $514.5 million in the U.S. this year, which pales in comparison to the tens of billions of dollars that go toward TV, search and digital video, according to an IAB report. Some digital media companies are building robust podcast operations that are main drivers of their business. The Ringer, helmed by Bill Simmons, has 28 podcasts and is reported to have done more than $15 million in revenue, mostly from podcast ads. Vox Media, which has a network of 75 podcast shows, also has an eight-figure podcasting business, according to Axios. The market for podcasts was recently validated by Spotify’s $340 million worth of deals to buy Gimlet, maker of popular podcasts, and podcast creation and hosting service Anchor.
“You’re seeing an acceleration of podcasts as a content medium; there’s way more awareness among consumers,” Nardini said. “Our ambitions in podcasts are very big.”
While podcasts are expanding into narrative formats, Barstool mostly sticks to a talk radio approach. Barstool podcasts typically has a small number of people on each podcast — for instance, there are four people on “Pardon My Take” including the two hosts — while the crew makes use of other parts of Barstool’s infrastructure including talent booking, promotions and merchandise. (The podcasts are separate from Barstool’s 12-hour live radio channel on Sirius, which consists of exclusive programming made for the channel.)
“We’re very talent-driven,” said Nardini. “[The podcast hosts] play an extremely active role in these podcasts. As a result, the podcasts are more personal, which is more compelling.”
Here’s what’s behind the rise of custom algorithms for digital ad decisions
As advertisers ingest more campaign data and demand more control over it, custom algorithms are getting more attention. Here's why.
Gannett relaunches CTV streaming channels as ‘home’ for original, long-form videos
Gannett is relaunching its CTV streaming channels with more long-form programming and on additional distribution platforms after a rise in views and time spent watching.
Exclusive: Substack continues its acquisition streak with public correspondence startup Letter
The acquisition comes as Substack’s biggest, newest competitors are trying to position newsletters as one hub in a larger relationship between creators and their audience.
SponsoredHow the ad industry can use its borrowed time to future-proof first-party data solutions
Trent Lloyd, co-founder and head of brand solutions, Eyeota Google’s updated timeline for its Privacy Sandbox rollout, including its two-year delay of third-party cookie deprecation on Chrome, didn’t come as a surprise to many industry observers, given the limited utility of Google’s FLoC and the slow momentum of the Privacy Sandbox in the World Wide […]
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: As student athletes begin signing brand deals, sports publishers want in
Sports publishers are building new franchises that will connect the newly available student athletes with advertisers.
Now hiring: The FTC seeks ad tech and social media experts as it shifts its approach to investigating data abuses
The FTC's chief technologist aims to shift away from reliance on legalistic remedies to stop data abuses and wants technologists who understand ad tech and algorithms to help.