Why The Information’s paywall strategy is so successful, Google considering paying publishers for news, and more
The value of testing the waters with podcasts
It’s a well-trodden hype cycle in the media industry. A new technology starts to take off, publishers rush to invest, it falls dramatically short of expectations, and we all back off with renewed scepticism and a bruised bank balance. Podcasting is the latest in the firing line.
A number of publishers have backed off their podcasting investments recently, prompting cries that podcasting’s ‘gold rush’ is over. But it’s easy to find examples of those who have overstretched in their investment and had to cut back. Those taking a cautious approach don’t make headlines.
But as Peter Houston told us this week, this should be seen as testing the waters and doubling down on what works. “The pivot to video would have been a lot less messy if publishers had adopted this kind of ‘test and learn’ approach,” he said.
There are lessons we can learn from high-profile failures and smashing successes in podcasting. But our one takeaway from this week? The gold rush analogy is flawed. Podcasts should be another plank in publisher’s portfolios, not another ‘get rich quick’ pivot.
The Information achieved profitability in three years and has driven up to 20,000 subscribers who are paying $399 a year for access to its content. So what are the secrets to its success? Here, we look at five components of their strategy.
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Podcasts should be another plank in publisher’s portfolios, not another ‘get rich quick’ pivot.
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