Award-winning podcast series “Serial” is back for its second season and was released yesterday. Show of hands, how many knew it was coming out now?
It’s hard to fault anything about the remarkable success of Serial, after all, it is the biggest hit in the burgeoning podcast business, but it’s pre-launch is curious. It shoulda/coulda been the biggest day in podcast history with a lot of chatter leading up to the launch. But instead, the program's release date and topic was cloaked in mystery – although heavily rumored - up until the moment it was released.
Maybe it is a public radio thing to undersell, but “Serial” is podcasting’s “Adele” – a widely awaited event. Adele’s recent single and album release was highly anticipated and expertly orchestrated with a giant video, exclusive interviews, a press tour, a bit of controversy by holding her music back from streaming services Pandora and Spotify, an appearance on SNL and even an SNL spoof. All of this helped vault her album to record breaking sales not seen in 10 years.
If a movie studio were involved in the release of “Serial”, there would have been a three-week media build-up with marketing, interviews and a press tour. If it were Netflix, there would have been weeks of pre-promotion of the “new season.” If it were ESPN, promos would have been running on their networks and visibility across multiple Disney platforms.
Indeed there was lot of coverage about Bowe Bergdahl on websites and newscasts yesterday, and that is hugely impressive. But one has to wonder whether yesterday could have been podcasting’s biggest day ever with a great deal more attention focused on the medium and "Serial's" release.