How Slate’s Charlie Krammerer is prioritizing frequency to boost podcast revenue

Slate has been within the podcast enterprise for practically 20 years, however refreshed its technique this 12 months to extend the frequency of its hottest exhibits.

“Slowburn,” “Decoder Ring” and “One 12 months” are all narrative podcast sequence at Slate that can transfer from one season per 12 months to 2 or three, to extend listenership in addition to give advertisers the chance to promote in these merchandise at completely different factors of the 12 months. In the meantime, a number of the writer’s weekly sequence will enhance to a biweekly schedule to realize the identical purpose of getting extra sellable stock.

On the newest episode of the Digiday Podcast, Slate’s CRO and president Charlie Krammerer mentioned why his staff has prioritized the frequency of current exhibits as a substitute of chasing scale like different podcast networks, in addition to how his staff of sellers is prioritizing a particular mixture of customized content material adverts whereas investing within the host-read mannequin.

Making up about half of the corporate’s income, the podcast enterprise is primarily advertising-dependent, though there was a pattern of podcast listeners turning into paid subscribers with Slate placing sure episodes of its hottest sequence behind its paywall.

Under are highlights from the dialog, which have been evenly edited and condensed for readability.

The frequency play 

One of many issues that’s driving our technique [in 2022] is frequency. Our exhibits are bifurcated between narrative after which every thing else. After we have a look at our narrative stuff, our greatest [show] “Slowburn,” we simply launched [our seventh season on Roe v. Wade] when SCOTUS got here out with their choices. This was just a little little bit of a mini-season — it was solely 4 episodes — however would possibly there be one other shorter season later within the 12 months? Possibly. May there be two seasons subsequent 12 months which are just a little shorter? In all probability.

We’re doing the identical factor with our different two narrative exhibits: “Decoder Ring” and “One 12 months.” We’re coming in with mainly three seasons of six or seven episodes, and it permits us to do a few issues. One, create deeper engagement with our listener. So as a substitute of them coming out and in every year, they’ll come out and in two or thrice a 12 months. It’s additionally actually necessary for the advertiser. [If] in a 12 months, you do one narrative season with seven or eight episodes, if a bunch of massive advertisers [are] not promoting throughout that timeframe, you’re not going to get them to [spend]. In the event that they don’t have one thing that they need to say, then [they’re] not [going to advertise]. So a frequency factor additionally permits us to have much more downloads and impressions accessible for when the cash’s accessible.

Podcasting drives subscriptions

[Podcast revenue] will in all probability get to 50% [of total revenue this year]. A whole lot of that depends upon how the opposite strains are rising. We have now three strains of enterprise: digital enterprise, audio enterprise, and subscription enterprise that we’re leaning into fairly exhausting. And , we attribute quite a lot of these new subscribers to our podcasting. Relying on what sort of listener is available in, podcasting quite a lot of occasions is the primary purpose they select to be a subscriber.

When SCOTUS got here out with all their choices within the final couple of months, we had a podcast known as “Amicus,” and it’s our podcast concerning the legislation, mainly. That was a good time for us to lean into what was taking place and so we did quite a lot of further episodes of “Amicus.” We took three [of them] and made them solely accessible to Slate+ listeners. We had one of the best Slate+ month in three years and quite a lot of that needed to do with that. So it simply provides you an thought of how we use audio and the way we’re capable of monetize audio, not only for promoting, however to drive loyalty and subscription cash as effectively.

Believing host reads

Nearly all of our promoting {dollars} come from model advertisers. Our direct response promoting {dollars} have continued to develop, however actually that’s a mirrored image on the truth that it’s how rapidly the model advertisers have come into the entire area.

At Slate, we’re not chasing scale. We simply know we will’t win that recreation. It’s actually not what we will ship anyway. We’re all about attempting to ship an engaged, curious, educated listener. So what does that imply for us and our advert codecs? For the advertisers that need to work with us this manner, and that need to be artistic, we need to perceive their enterprise as finest we will. We leaned into host reads in a very aggressive manner, we all know they work with all the information on the market. If anytime which you could get a number to sound genuine and intimate and private, with any person’s advert message, nice.

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