Podcasters are more and more providing subscriptions as a solution to develop complementary income and supply listeners bonus content material or further advantages. However they’re ready on Apple, Spotify and different podcast-hosting platforms to supply extra flexibility and options to develop listenership and make it simpler for individuals to search out the reveals that provide subscriptions.
“There are technological hindrances that make it harder to scale,” stated David Spiegel, CRO at Betches Media.
There’s no singular path to subscription.
David Spiegel, CRO, Betches Media
Podcast subscriptions can, in some instances, assist a podcasts’ discoverability, particularly since Apple Podcasts launched two new subscription-focused podcast charts in August: “Prime Subscriber Exhibits” and “Prime Subscriber Channels.” Every week after Dateline NBC started providing a subscription throughout its podcast channel, it turned the No. 1 subscriber present on the Apple Podcasts Charts and the No. 3 subscriber channel on Apple’s Prime Exhibits chart, for instance. Since June 2021, the variety of Apple Podcasts subscribers has gone up by greater than 300%, and over 25% of the highest 100 reveals in Apple’s Prime Exhibits chart supply a subscription.
Present-level subscriptions are onerous to search out
Apple and Spotify each assist show-level subscriptions, which give podcasters the power to supply bonus content material or complete reveals for a charge. Nonetheless, as a lot as that compatibility can improve the attract for individuals to pay for a show-level subscription, the platforms deal with these subscriptions by siloing the reveals, which may come at the price of individuals discovering an organization’s broader podcast portfolio.
When podcast community QCode added the “Tooth and Claw” podcast to its community in August, it got here with a membership program the podcast had constructed on Patreon known as the “Griz Membership.” QCode has a channel subscription that gives ad-free listening and bonus episodes for $3.99 a month or $28.99 a yr, however added a separate Griz Membership subscription on the Apple Podcasts app. It mirrors the center tier of the present Patreon membership, at round $10 a month. QCode is launching one other show-level subscription to its newly-added podcast “Jillian On Love.”
Betches Media launched three podcast subscriptions this yr: “U Up?,” “Weight loss program Begins Tomorrow” and “Morning Bulletins.”
Nonetheless, show-level subscriptions don’t seem below a podcaster’s fundamental channel on Apple Podcasts. Spiegel stated this makes it troublesome for listeners to find Betches Media’s reveals that now supply subscriptions, or for listeners who subscribe to “U Up?” to search out Betches Media’s different podcasts.
“That turns into difficult as a result of it additionally takes [listeners] out of a few of that pure discovery, which is already the most important problem in podcasting,” he stated. The one approach for listeners to discover a podcaster’s different reveals is to advertise them in an present present (both in a call-out throughout the episode, or in channel or episode notes) or have them seem inside the channel, Spiegel stated. Nonetheless, Apple Podcasts does permit podcasters to create as many channels as they need.
In some methods, it’s much more sophisticated on Spotify: To supply a podcast subscription, podcasters should re-upload the present’s feed to Spotify’s podcast platform Anchor, which then offers a “double-feed impact,” stated QCode chief technique officer Steve Wilson. Each podcast feeds have the identical look, however one is for subscribers and the opposite will not be. QCode and Betches Media don't supply podcast subscriptions on Spotify.
A Spotify spokesperson stated podcasters have the power to set subscriber content material on the episode stage, with a view to embrace each subscriber and non-subscriber episodes in the identical feed.
Incapacity to attach present subscribers
Presently, Spotify and Apple Podcasts lack the power to attach a subscriber from one other platform to their apps. Because of this if a podcaster has one other membership or subscription program on different digital platforms, there's not but a solution to confirm that subscriber on these podcast apps to supply them further bonus options.
The tradeoff podcasters and different content material corporations make in alternate for the attain offered by the platforms is the direct relationship with their clients.
Matt Lindsay, president, Mather Economics
“There’s no singular path to subscription. I'd love to have the ability to launch a common subscription product that has entry to every part that Betches presents no matter the place it's,” Spiegel stated.
Information safety is a hurdle to providing further perks
For different subscription companies, an enormous draw is the power to construct first-party information, which isn't attainable with podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts.
Griz Membership’s Patreon membership presents merchandise like stickers, which may’t be given on to its Apple Podcasts subscribers as a result of listeners can’t select to decide in and share any information with QCode. (Podcasters can gather buyer emails via hyperlinks in present notes on the Apple Podcasts app.)
“Not [having] a direct relationship with their listeners is a profound problem for podcasters. The tradeoff podcasters and different content material corporations make in alternate for the attain offered by the platforms is the direct relationship with their clients,” Matt Lindsay, president of subscription administration and buyer information analytics agency Mather Economics, stated in an e-mail.
Due to this, podcasters don’t have information to see which episodes have probably the most engaged listeners, for instance. And so they can’t section their viewers. It additionally means podcasters can’t strategize on methods to lower churn and retain listeners or take actions to win them again (resembling providing a particular low cost to listeners who haven’t tuned in for some time) — a key a part of subscription advertising and marketing methods.
An Apple spokesperson identified that Apple Podcasts has an “Engaged Listener” metric out there to all podcasters within the Analytics tab of Apple Podcasts Join. It reveals the overall quantity of people that listened to at the least 20 minutes or 40% of an episode. For many who present podcast subscriptions, Apple Podcasts presents a “Listening Report” which incorporates data on variety of hours listened, kind of listener and variety of performs — by storefront, episode and episode kind.
“With out entry to listener information, podcasters can lose an essential touchpoint with their viewers,” Amy Konary, svp of Subscribed Institute at subscription administration platform Zuora, stated in an e-mail. With out that information, podcasters may face challenges with retention, misplaced income and receiving direct suggestions from listeners, she stated.
An Apple spokesperson wouldn't touch upon any future product or function growth in these areas.
This story has been up to date with data offered by an Apple spokesperson.