So you have a podcast. That?s great, but don?t quit your day job just yet. Unfortunately, unless you?re Ricky Gervais it might be more than just a little difficult to make money off podcasting. If you are Ricky Gervais: A.) Can I borrow some money? B.) Can I guest star on the new video podcast?
So why aren?t there more podcast millionaires? Most podcasts don?t have the audience necessary to generate any significant ad revenue. The other problem being that as podcasting grows, so do the number of shows targeting the same audience. The larger and more successful podcasts can generate revenue by charging subscription fees for their shows, or even by charging for the back catalogue of shows. Even amongst the larger corporations, excepting The Wall Street Journal, and Consumer Reports, most haven?t been able to sell enough subscriptions to their web-based content to be anywhere close to profitable. Apparently just having a recognizable brand isn?t enough to sell subscriptions alone.
The key is finding ways to make podcasts engaging, and effective. Right now businesses are using podcasting as a marketing tool to attract clients in much the same way that blogs lead to exposure for other businesses. There is no reason that podcasts can’t generate revenue. For example if you host a show on llama herding, it?s possible (although not probable) that 2,000 llama herding enthusiasts might subscribe. If you have a large niche marketing then advertising might work for you. Who?s to say that if an enterprising podcaster rounded up an audience of 7,000 listeners interested in basket weaving, then why wouldn’t a basket weaving company want to advertise to that audience? The key is finding a podcast with quality content and advertisers who need to reach that specific audience. What is needed essentially is a matchmaker of sorts to help the shows and advertisers find one another.
The other problem is getting web users to find and subscribe to podcasts. While it may seem like just about everyone knows about podcasting the truth is that there is a good majority of people who still haven?t. In an interview last year Yahoo Chief Products Officer Geoff Ralston pointed this particular problem out. ??the fact is that what we really want to do at Yahoo is to bring podcasting to the mainstream, and for that to happen people have to learn about it. So we?ve created a site where it?s really easy to learn about it, and like I said, you?ll be able to find podcasts eventually everywhere on Yahoo. So as you?re reading your news, which of course many millions of people do every day week, and month on Yahoo, you will start to be introduced to podcasts and start to be introduced to the podcast experience of the site and that will actually start to bring you into the community of podcasters. And it is a community! One of the key aspects of Yahoo Podcasts is that the community is what gives it strength and gives the feeling of the site. The site also allows people to rate podcasts to create the ability for people to find the podcasts that matter.”
Podcasting is still a new medium and so there?s plenty of room for growth and change. The real key to making money with podcasting is finding a way to use traditional methods of generating revenue along side newer methods. The key in a young industry, like podcasting, is experimenting with different methods, not being afraid to adapt new business models, or even inventing your own. So Ricky Gervais may have an easier time making money at it, but that?s not to say that it?s impossible for anyone else.
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