TV show producer and distributor Fremantle is making a bet on scripted drama podcasts. With new global label Storyglass, it aims to release eight scripted drama series by the end of next summer.
Although release dates haven’t been set, Storyglass has announced two podcast series are ready to go: a dark comedic murder mystery called “Director’s Cut” and a series called “Baby It’s Cold Outside” that follows a man struggling with homelessness who tries to keep it from his son. The podcasts have a distribution window on Acast, where they will be monetized through ads, before appearing on other platforms. “Director’s Cut” will run over 20 episodes, while “Baby It’s Cold Outside” will likely run four episodes over consecutive days.
Scripted drama podcasts are appealing in part of because of their speed and immediacy, especially when compared with producing TV shows, said Storyglass creative director Robert Delamere. “Drama commissions in broadcast development can be anything between one and 10 years,” he said. “We’re looking at a three- to six-month turnaround. There’s something fascinating about responding immediately to talent and stories and culture.”
Another producer, Ben Walker, is working with Delamere, but Storyglass will also draw on Fremantle’s global drama division, its U.K. youth label called Shotglass and other global labels. Every eight weeks the board of four executives will go through projects pitched to Storyglass.
Ultimately, Fremantle, part of RTL Group, will try to take some of these podcasts to TV. “There’s a quiet intention there to look for and test material to grow into screen formats, but we want them to first have success on their own terms,” said Delamere. He pointed out that it’s not yet proven, particularly in the U.K., that there’s a viable audience for scripted drama podcasts.
In the U.S. there are more mature examples of podcast companies selling film and TV rights to their shows, which come with ready-made audiences. The explosion in appetite for dramatic content, fueled in part by platforms such as Amazon, Netflix and Apple, makes podcasting a cost-effective way for testing narratives.
“Scripted drama is probably one of the few remaining gaps in the U.K. podcast market,” said Susie Warhurst, global head of content at Acast. “We know from success stories in the U.S. that there’s huge audience demand for this type of creative format. The ad market is also ready to embrace more experimental podcast formats and align themselves with cutting-edge drama.”
According to broadcast regulator Ofcom, the number of U.K. adults listening to podcasts each week has doubled in the last five years to nearly 6 million. The majority of this listening takes place on Apple’s podcasting app, leaving podcast creators grumbling for its lack of audience data sharing. For the most part, it’s not scripted drama series that make up the majority of downloads.
Acast along with content producer Somethin’ Else launched a structured reality podcast at the becoming of October, but drama series podcasts in the U.K. are still fairly nascent. Moving from creating non-fiction to drama podcasts takes added investment.
The two scripted series that are ready at launch were chosen for their differences, to show the openness of the commissioning round, Delamere said. Along with global stories, Delamere wants a diverse range across genre, race and class in order to understand the market.
“We want to test whether you can you create an event drama moment over podcasting,” he said.
Bloomberg Media will debut five new podcasts with iHeartMedia this year
Bloomberg Media and iHeartMedia are releasing five podcast shows this year, part of a three-year co-production and distribution podcast deal to create over a dozen new original shows.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: What publishers’ latest earnings reports say about the state of the media business
In this week's Media Briefing, media editor Kayleigh Barber analyzes the latest quarterly earnings reports from BuzzFeed, IAC's Dotdash Meredith, News Corp's Dow Jones, Future plc, Gannett and The New York Times.
The pluses and pitfalls of team-led return to office approaches
Publishers like Dotdash Meredith, Dow Jones, theSkimm and NBC News are adopting team-specific RTO policies, designed to make the return to in-person work more accommodating. But they can also create complications.
SponsoredHow companies are improving career mobility to mitigate the Great Resignation￼
Matt Bartels, principal and media practice lead, Alexander Group The pandemic left an indelible mark on businesses around the world. This abrupt market force challenged leaders to reevaluate their business model, think creatively, work collaboratively and aggressively invest in their future or risk becoming obsolete. Unexpectedly, the global workforce reevaluated their lives while re-envisioning their […]
The Rundown: As e-commerce grows, the eCommFronts address data and communication issues
Night Market, which specializes in guiding clients through e-commerce and retail media offerings and inventory, hosted its third annual eCommFronts beginning Tuesday through today.
Q&A: How Vox Media’s branded content studio is working to integrate its podcast ad capabilities post-merger
Three months after Vox Media and Group Nine’s branded studios merged, the newly combined Vox Creative is using the different podcast ad formats it offers to integrate audio advertising into advertisers' campaigns, according to svp Yosef Johnson and executive producer of audio Annu Subramanian.