Spotify is looking for original podcasts
A big new front has opened up in the war for exclusive podcasts. Spotify has been talking to podcast producers about original shows, including Gimlet, How Stuff Works and Pineapple Street Media, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions. Spotify did not make an executive available for comment.
The shows, which Spotify would like to be focused on music, according to one producer that’s spoken to the service, would be the first step in a longer-term play several platforms are making to become hubs for both music and spoken-word audio content. They could also serve as a valuable way for Spotify to grow its revenue sources ahead of an IPO many expect to happen either this year or next.
“I think a fantastic goal for these services would be to have 10 percent of their listening time be talk[-focused content],” said Mark McCrery, the CEO of Podtrac, a podcasting analytics service. “I think achieving that is a longer-term play.”
To date, podcasts have fit awkwardly into Spotify’s product. It took nearly six months to roll them out widely after they were first announced in the spring of 2015, and even today, finding the dedicated podcasts section on Spotify’s apps takes some digging; they are still not available on the desktop version of Spotify’s app, and they’re tucked away in a corner of the mobile app.
The number of users that have bothered to look them, thus far, is quite small. For most podcast producers, Spotify accounts for less than 5 percent of their total shows’ listens; Podtrac, for example, does not include Spotify listening data in its rankings, saying the overall amount of data provided is too small to make an impact.
Yet that slow start apparently has not deterred Spotify. The slow launch of video didn’t discourage the startup from investing more in original video either, with the streaming giant now seeking shows that can cost as much as $200,000 per episode.
At those prices, Spotify could easily buy up tons of podcasts, which are far less resource-intensive than video but can command advertising prices that rival, or even surpass on-demand video content.
It’s difficult to project how much original audio programming would move the needle for a product like Spotify, but it’s hardly the only one making moves in this direction. Audible, the Amazon-owned audiobook subscription service, began adding original audio podcasts to a subscription service in December, and Howl Premium, an ad-free subscription service unveiled by the Scripps-owned podcast advertising network Midroll in the summer of 2015, has been using original programming to entice people to sign up as well.
The key distinction between those services and Spotify, however, is the latter’s reliance on recorded music, which record companies and music publishers provide at enormous cost. In its previous deals with labels, Spotify agreed to pay a combined 70 percent of its revenue to record labels and publishers, a number it is reportedly trying to push downward at the negotiating table. Moving toward podcasting could add another source of revenue, while also adding more time spent listening, overall.
HBO Max, Degree and Verizon are among the 2021 Digiday Awards finalists
New audiences, inclusivity and reemergence from quarantine became the backbeat of this year’s Digiday Awards shortlist. Take a look at the finalists.
Member ExclusiveDigiday Guide: How publishers and marketers can use the blockchain in their businesses
You may have heard the term "crypto" or "blockchain" come up during a recent business meeting and felt like a fish out of water. This guide will help both media execs and marketers prep for the expected blockchain revolution.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Publishers need to diversify their affiliate commerce businesses
Among publishers with affiliate commerce businesses, close to a third of them are skipping one of the most common paths to monetization.
SponsoredHow cloud technologies are helping media companies unlock the value of data collaboration
Bill Stratton, global head of media, entertainment and advertising vertical, Snowflake Many of today’s media businesses and advertisers are redefining their business models in response to shifts in consumer behavior and the availability of new technologies. For instance, over the past few years, content creators such as Disney, NBCUniversal and HBO have begun selling their […]
Publishers are seeing increases in advertiser requests around climate and sustainability coverage
BBC, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Group Nine Media and The Economist are seeing more interest from advertisers around climate and sustainability content.
Member ExclusiveMedia Buying Briefing: DE&I measurement ‘is a bullshit fix,’ and other takeaways from Digiday’s Media Buying Summit
Feedback from those who do the hard work at media agencies revealed a lot of issues boiling under the surface of their day-to-day jobs, from DE&I shortfalls to massive confusion in the CTV space.