News UK, publisher of The Sun and The Times, is launching more podcasts around specific verticals in order to attract advertisers. According to the publisher, it plans to nearly double its output, from six to 10, covering new verticals, including gardening and technology.
One of its most successful podcasts is The Game, The Times’ football-focused podcast, with 80,000 downloads a week, and has grown by 15 percent in the last two weeks, according to the publisher. Others include The Times’ politics show, Red Box, and The Times Literary Supplement podcast, and The Times Business podcast.
“They are all growing,” said Derek Brown, head of video at the publisher. “It’s another way for us to diversify the business. We’ll assess them as we go; we won’t be doing podcasts for the sake of it.”
Of the two papers, The Times, with 182,500 digital subscribers, broadcasts more podcasts than The Sun, partly because Times journalists simply enjoy doing them, according to Brown. And building a loyal podcast audience will take time, although News UK already has certain advantages, such as willing journalists and a studio, which prompted business director David McClean, to start looking at podcasting from a commercial viewpoint.
The Sun itself has a deep bench that the paper is more than happy to make use of. The next podcast, launching Dec. 31, will feature The Sun’s longest-running employee, 81-year-old Peter Seabrook, a well-established gardening columnist who’s been working at The Sun since the ’70s, as a weekly presenter.
The show, “A week in the garden with Peter Seabrook,” will last 30 minutes and will be distributed across all the platforms the other News UK podcast are, including Soundcloud and iTunes. The show will consist of Seabrook giving out tips, such as how to mulch certain types of compost leaves, and answering reader letters. Gardening content tends to evoke a lot of responses, according to Brown.
“The podcast will also be promoted in his weekly print column. He’ll work on any platform,” said Brown. “It doesn’t phase him. He’s like a digital journalist 60 years ahead of his time.” The show has already signed a sponsorship deal with an unnamed advertiser.
Competition in the gardening podcast space consists largely of The Royal Horticultural Society, a charity that has, according to Brown, approximately 50,000 weekly downloads.
News UK became more engaged in audio after it acquired radio company The Wireless Group in September for £220 million ($273 million). Now, it can now offer advertisers branded content across radio too. “The sell to advertisers is that radio, reaching people as they listen in their car, is smart access to people’s lives,” said Brown.
Jerry Daykin, digital partner at Carat, said that for many marketers this would represent a “simplification to be able to work with one content partner and end up with content that works across their media mix.” That said, advertisers should be cautious about not over-simplifying the process and instead emphasize creating the right content fit for the right channel.
For example, News UK has started broadcasting The Game podcast on Talksport radio, the sports-focused radio station, part of Wireless Group, that has 3.1 million weekly listeners. This is the first time News UK has packaged content to be distributed by the radio station.
“People think podcasting is just a hobby,” said Brown. “We’re trying to see if it can be a decent part of our business.”
Ocean Media’s Jay Langan on how data fueled this independent agency’s long-term strategy
Over the last two decades, Ocean Media has emerged as one of the largest data-driven firms helping transform popular brands like Mint Mobile and Rakuten into household names.
How digital news publishers will compete for political ad dollars in this year’s U.S. midterm elections
The midterms are expected to draw a historic amount of political ad spend. How will publishers compete for those dollars?
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Advertising and commerce ebb while subscriptions flow in publisher’s Q2 earnings reports
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, Gannett and The New York Times.
SponsoredHow brands are activating Gen Z and millennial TikTok audiences
Roland Hamilton, senior vice president of global licensing, Trusted Media Brands Although TikTok is widely considered a Gen Z platform, the video-sharing app also boasts a high number of millennial users. With more than 100 million active users in the U.S. alone, 32% of TikTok’s global audience is between the ages of 25–34. This large […]
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research deep dive: YouTube investments pay off for publishers’ brands, revenues
In this final installment of Digiday+ Research's deep dive into how publishers are using social media platforms, we're covering how publishers are investing time and money on YouTube -- and how that's translating to their revenues and brands.
ANA’s programmatic buying guide aims to shine a light on murky inefficiencies for CMOs
The Association of National Advertisers released a guide on programmatic media buying that aims to save marketers billions of dollars a year.