A major obstacle in monetizing podcasts is the Flintstone-like measurement. Much of the rich data is suppressed by Apple leaving downloads as the primary unit. This obscures data on how many people listened and for how long. Inferior data has kept big advertisers away from the growing audio-on-demand medium. But in an environment of more fragmented TV viewing, questions about the effectiveness of digital advertising and bloated radio station commercial blocks, some brands are experimenting with branded podcast content.
According to Adweek, big brands including eBay, GE, Netflix and State Farm are betting on audio shows as a fresh way to engage audiences.
Certainly few people will sit through a 30-minute advertiser pitch, but well crafted content with a listener benefit such as eBay's Open for Business series about starting a business are gaining traction. Panoply's science fiction series The Message for GE has been downloaded more than 5 million times.
This isn't a solution for every advertiser. If it smells like an "infomercial" it probably won't work. Advertisers are interested in showcasing their messages in a noisy world. Podcasts can be both intimate and cut-through. That's worth a science project.
These types of experiments will lead to greater confidence of podcasting among brands.
Watch a good piece on developing branded podcasts here
Steven Goldstein, Amplifi Media
I will be moderating "Podcast Forecast - What's Next?" at the RAIN Summit in Nashville September 20 with great panelists: Sarah Van Mosel/Acast, John Rosso/Triton Digital, Brian Landau/DGital Media, Brendan Regan/audioBoom and Brendan Monaghan/Panoply.
I will also be presenting at the adjacent NAB Radio Show "7 Things You Need To Know about Podcasting Today" on Thursday, September 22 at 2:30pm.