- Blogtober Came Early | Day 1/30
- My Dream Life is Complicated | Day 2/30
- Making the Case for Free Work? | Day 3/30
- Deciding to Be Better at Something | Day 4/30
- The Business of Podcast Networks in Africa | Day 5/30
- Why I Started Blogging | Day 6/30
- What’s on My Phone? | Day 7/30
- The Cautionary Tale of Modern Technology | Day 8/30
- My talk to Teens on Blogging would go something like this | Day 9/30
- On the Spectrum of Transparency and Accountability | Day 10/30
- Letter from ‘Home’ | Day 11/30
- The Africa You Never Read About | Day 12/30
- The Perks and Perils of Blogging in Africa | Day 13/30
- Reading Roundup: Interact with my 5 African Inspirations | Day 14/30
- Dear AU, are you doing enough to fulfill your mandate? | Day 15/30
- Effecting Reconciliation after Parental Estrangement | Day 16/30
- Why Kenya is your Leisure and Business Travel Destination | Day 17/30
- The Diverse, Unique and Peculiar Kenyan Culture | Day 18/30
- 10 African Traditions and Cultures that should be abolished | Day 19/30
- 5 Books You Should Read in 2019 | Day 20/30
- Reading Roundup: On the Contrary… | Day 21/30
- Spreading Mental Health Awareness to Households | Day 22/30
- 9 Lesser-Known Facts about Kenya | Day 23/30
- We Can Coexist Peacefully in Sexual and Racial Diversity | Day 24/30
- 7 Ways to Absorb and Retain Podcast Knowledge | Day 25/30
- A Family Story in Pictures | Day 26/30
- 11 Lessons from the Blog Challenge | Day 27/30
- To the Blogger who Inspired me without Knowing | Day 28/30
- To the Reader who came across my words | Day 29/30
- Mailed to Winter ABC Creators and Organizers | Day 30/30
Suppose I had a huge pile of money lying around, possibly from the jackpot (remember the jackpot?) I got or from a venture capital-funded by this wealthy investor I was connected with at a Podcast conference somewhere in Nairobi. Better yet, assuming I happen to have made loads of money from years of sweat and a prayer(?), what business venture do I intend to pursue?
Startup ideas come up more than twice a day in my head, but I stop at the initial stages. Because again, we barely dream beyond our arms reach, remember? What I don’t stop myself from obsessing over is building my own Podcast Network. I see this venture as a realistic, more than likely, soon to happen dream that I may fully dip my toe into.
A podcast network is a network of podcasts connected by a similar theme, genre, partnership, or ownership. The idea is to spread their listener bases to each others’ shows. Networks are also distributors who produce and acquire content, then make it available to audiences. They make finding new shows easy by curating quality content and putting it all in one place for listeners.
If you listen to a large number of podcasts, then there’s a good chance that several of them are affiliated with a podcast network. The heavy hitters of the podcast network world are benefitting from the podcasting revenue boom. This is despite warnings of the Podcast bubble bursting in this era.
The podcast business is lucrative
Podcasts are an increasingly attractive medium for digital advertising. The audience has embraced the appeal, and the surge in numbers is clear. The number of podcasters has exploded and, simultaneously, the quality of the content and production value. This growth has generated an increase in ad revenues. Media and Music companies have also taken notice and want in on the shares. The business is lucrative.
Streaming service and distributor Spotify which is in the business of brokering exclusives with creators and personalization of user experience with their new playlist feature to make better recommendations has fully bought into the podcast ecosystem buying Gimlet, Parcast, and Anchor while at it. The Ringer Podcast Network, which makes up a huge amount of my personal listening, made ad sales that beat $15 million in 2018.
Is it worth dipping your toes?
The current gold rush in launching Podcast Networks back here in Africa has seen the pioneer hitmakers and potential game-changers work harder to figure out the model for podcast success, reaping the rewards meanwhile. Cliff Central, one of the very first online radio and podcasting platforms in Africa, changed the South Africa audio landscape attracting traditional radio stations to this format.
Kaya FM remodeled its approach to offering digital content to its listeners, which has definitely grown its podcast listenership loyalty. Portable Voices, a Kenyan audiobook production company and Podcast Network, has a Creatives Club that supports its creators through editing, scriptwriting, and production.
Other Podcast Networks thriving in Africa include Colourful Radio, Lutcha, Afripods, The Gold Coast Report, Agora Podcast Network, Impact Africa Network, African Podcasts Network, Pod Africa, and What’s Good Network.
“The notion that a network is going to spot raw talent and scoop it up, making you wealthy (or at least wealthy by podcast standards) and famous (or at least famous by podcast standards) is a myth.” – Eric Nuzum
The business of podcasting does not only hold success stories. The failures are well documented. The blogging era’s meteoric rise brought upon by big blog networks such as Gawker and Weblog did not last long in the market. Are we likely to see a similar fate with Podcast networks?
Luminary is a subscription service that builds businesses primarily off of paywalled content and is home to podcast networks and independent podcasters. On its launch, it recorded a disastrous rollout into the marketplace forcing the podcasters and big networks to exit the stage. This is to say that near misses occur too, and as a creator, you have to think long and hard about what you’re getting yourself into within the industry. Read the fine print.
What’s in my fine print?
- An extremely passionate team and all efforts come from a place of care.
- You retain full creative control (flexibility, independence, and expression)
- The best advertising deals and a streamlined process for the advertisers
- Routine press coverage and articles, boosting listenership
- The ability to join a collective of podcasts and bounce ideas off of each other
- Increased visibility will boost download numbers.
- The opportunity to network with one another and cross-promote shows
- The chance to brand your show as a part of a bigger group
- Website and Hosting provided by the network
- Sharing production resources
- Flexible terms
My mission would be to ease up the workload that accompanies creating content. This means taking over responsibility right after they produce their podcast episodes to when their audience consumes it. The creator will have all the time to concentrate on making a good show.
As you may have noticed, all these variants in my fine print require huge swaths of cash to pull it off comfortably, but since I do not have the funding currently, a DIY Podcast Network would suffice.
PS. If you’re a podcaster thinking of joining a Podcast Network, or you’re an investor seeking to pump in some venture capital before the controversial CBK deadline, this was my pitch to you!