Is There Money in Podcasting?

Posted on October 2, 2005

A recent Wired article looks at the possibility of earning money through podcasting. Wired says a few podcasters like Grape Radio, The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, Josh in Japan and Endurance Radio are already seeing some revenues. Podcasting exploded after Apple made podcasting part of the latest iTunes upgrade but so far there has been much money made. Of course, that doesn't meant that there won't be in the future. The Wired story says some independent podcasters like Cinecast are grateful to be listed in iTunes, but long for information from iTunes about how often their podcasts are being downloaded.
Independent podcasters don't have the assurance of a built-in audience whose demographics they can rely upon. In fact, they struggle to even accurately count the size or makeup of their audiences -- information that advertisers covet. Some have rough ideas based on e-mail responses, site hits and, if they're lucky, download figures, but they say they can't tell how many people are listening through Apple's iTunes service, which doesn't share its statistics.

That's frustrating for folks like Cinecast's Hallgren and Kempenaar, whose show has been featured a couple of times on iTunes' homepage. The duo believe that iTunes is caching Cinecast on Apple's servers, and while they're grateful for the attention, they say that as a result users who subscribe to the podcast aren't downloading the program from the Cinecast server, making it impossible to accurately count the audience.
Accurate measurement about how many users are tuning into podcasts will obviously be crucial for obtaining advertisers so podcasters will need this data. The Wired article says most podcasters believe money will be made from podcasting but not in the near future.
Many early podcasters say they're in it for the long haul and expect profits to come later.

"I think there is a lot of money to be made out of this, but it's in its infancy," said Mark Vavrick of Renegades of Comedy. "There's a lot of people with computers, but not everybody knows these shows are out there yet."
Adam Curry, who started PodShow with Ron Bloom, said in a BBC interview back in March, 2005 that there will be money made from podcasting.
"I have 50, 60, 70,000 listeners. I could make a couple of bucks off that, but not much. If you are talking a million podcasters, and then you can kind of divide that amongst ourselves, then that is kind of interesting."

Essentially, he says, if you are doing a bass fishing podcast, someone who is selling bait and tackle will probably want to advertise on your show.

He is clear the ads will not be the traditional "in-your-face" type familiar to commercial radio now.

"We are really going to see these microcosms and commerce will be all over the place."
Other articles about making money from podcasting can be found here and here. And a Forbes.com article list four ways money can be made for podcasting. So, the answer to the question "Is there money in podcasting?" appears to be yes. The question that remains is how long will it take before major profits are realized.