Unlike traditional television and radio production companies, which usually report advertising rates and profits through third-party auditors, there’s no independent analysis of podcast revenue.
Creators on Patreon can choose to make many of their metrics transparent, so we can get a strong sense of Patreon’s best supported podcasts. Based on generally accepted advertising practices, you can project that shows sitting at the top of Apple’s charts are also likely to be among audio’s top earners.
That doesn’t mean that you can predict the world’s wealthiest podcasters by looking at the charts. It also doesn’t mean you can presume that podcasters at the top of those lists are the ones earning the most money.
That’s because the podcast ecosystem’s getting a boost of funding from platform providers and other technology companies. Apple, Spotify, Luminary, Audible, and a boatload of traditional broadcasters have embraced the format, turning to podcasters to develop exclusive or high-quality content that might not have otherwise been made in a fully ad-supported or fan-supported market.
Apple has started some high-profile hiring for non-music shows that might be part of a future subscription service or tied to the Apple Music subscription that already hosts series from Elton John, Nicki Minaj, and Zane Lowe. Spotify purchased Startup and Reply All producers Gimlet Media and has hinted at plans for subscriber-only shows alongside data-driven awards shows.
There is a massive opportunity for podcasts to evolve into a more personalized, more immersive experience for their audience. Podcasts have the unique ability to create captivating content that can reach and hook a large and loyal fan base. And a loyal fan base means big money for top podcasters. Audible’s notable hires include public radio production veterans, while Luminary has lured talent to its platform with the promise of frictionless subscriber support.
Even though we’ve been tracking five ways that podcasts can make money and become self-sufficient, we’re also counseling our clients to understand how podcasts can work as extensions of content marketing and branding programs. Your topic or personality might not be likely to crack a top ten list or make you an overnight millionaire, but it will solidify your reputation with your company’s target audience. For authors, a podcast can often support the launch of a new book even better than a traditional book tour.
Hop on a complimentary discovery session call with our team, and we’ll be happy to walk you through how we help our clients clarify and achieve their goals with professionally-produced podcasts and audio productions.