By David Spark | Monday, September 28, 2009 at 9:34 am
(This interview is part of David Spark’s (@dspark) series “Making Money from Podcasting” (read summary “9 Successful Techniques for Making Money from Podcasting”) where he interviews podcasters who are actually generating revenue from their podcasts. There are many techniques, and here’s one person’s tale of how he’s making money from podcasting.)
Rob Walch is the VP of podcaster relations at Wizzard Media, the former host of Podcast 411, a podcast that interviews other podcasters (he interviewed me when I hosted Sprint’s podcast), and the host of an even more popular podcast, Today in iPhone.
Walch has a long history and knowledge in podcasting. When I came up with the idea for the “Making Money from Podcasting” series, Walch was the first person I called. I talked to him about all the different business models and asked for suggestions of people to interview.
Interview (Time: 13:29)
The first business model we talked about was good old advertising, which works if you’ve got a large audience. Wizzard Media is the media network arm of the podcast hosting company, Libsyn. On Wizzard Media you can find popular podcasts such as Kiki Bar TV, Keith and the Girl, and Joe Cartoon. Shows like these, that have large audiences, come to Wizzard Media and ask them to sell advertising against their programming. Wizzard categorizes all its shows allowing them to sell packages to sponsors in those different categories (e.g. sports, politics, comedy). Adam Curry’s Mevio (formerly PodShow) operates the same way.
Wizzard Media differentiates itself from Mevio by giving their podcasters a choice of who will bring in the sponsors. If the podcaster can bring in their own sponsors, all they need to do is pay a flat feel for Wizzard’s ad insertion technology. If Wizzard Media hunts down the sponsors, the two parties split the advertising revenue. It’s not an either or option. Some clients, such as Pregtastic (read and listen to my “Making Money from Podcasting” interview with Pregtastic producer Royce Hildreth), do a combination of the two. Podcasters will get some of the sponsorships themselves, and for any unsold inventory, they let Wizzard Media fill in the rest.
Ad insertion technology, which has been around for a while, allows publishers to replace advertising in old episodes when downloaded again. This is especially good for shows that have a lot of evergreen content, such as “how to” podcasts, where people find value in shows that are six months or a year old. A sponsorship that’s sold for the month of October, can have all of those advertiser’s ads appear in all its shows, new and old, throughout the entire month of October. When November rolls around, a new sponsor’s ads start appearing in the full catalog of shows.
Advertising in a podcast is a rather obvious and sometimes difficult way to monetize a podcast. You really need a huge audience to pull it off because they’re often selling CPMs (costs per thousands) as low as $15. In an effort to expand revenue opportunities for podcasters, Wizzard Media offers another interesting way to monetize a podcast that also introduces the publisher to a whole new audience.
There are 100 million registered iTunes users and there are 50 million iPhones and iPod Touches, said Walch. Eighty five to ninety percent of all podcast downloads are via iTunes, according to Libsyn’s metrics. That means almost all of the podcasts available are being downloaded via iTunes and half of the registered users (meaning they’ve made a purchase with a credit card on iTunes) own an iPhone and iPod Touch. Simply put, the iTunes/iPod/iPhone platform is predominant in the world of podcasting.
For some users, the podcast button in iTunes is in another world. Many never click on it. To spread a podcaster’s brand across the iTunes store, Wizzard Media can monetize any podcast with a companion iPhone application.
With an iPhone application, podcasters can distributed value added content such as PDF show notes, bonus audio or video content, plus links to other accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, and web pages. Plus, with the iPhone application users can get access to a podcaster’s entire back catalog of episodes accessible wherever there’s connectivity. Although a nice feature, downloading old episodes of shows from an iPhone or iPod Touch is now available with the latest software upgrade.
For podcasters that are interested in marketing their own iPhone app this way, and be seen in the iTunes app store, Wizzard Media will create an iPhone application for you and share in the revenue that you generate from it.
This idea is catching on and is quickly becoming very successful. To bring in even more revenue for its 100+ podcasts and live radio streams, two weeks ago ESPN launched a podcasting iPhone app (not connected with Wizzard Media) for $2.99 that’s currently the fifth best selling paid app on iTunes.
To learn more about the iPhone app business model, plus how you can have a show that garners a $1,000 CPM from advertisers, listen to my interview with Rob Walch.