New INMA report explores economic promise of podcasts for news companies

By Dawn McMullan


Dallas, Texas, USA


The rise of news podcasts in the fast-emerging voice ecosystem and the possibilities behind monetisation for media companies are the key focuses behind a new report released today by the International News Media Association (INMA).

“The Engagement and Economic Promise of News Podcasts” explores the media podcast road map from ideation to creation to engagement to making money — punctuated by eight industry-leading case studies.

The report features case studies and advice from podcast experts.
The report features case studies and advice from podcast experts.

According to report author Paula Felps, media companies are uniquely positioned to capitalise on podcasts as they have everything a successful podcast requires: compelling stories and information, professional storytellers, and an audience at the ready. The No. 1 genre sought out by podcast listeners is news, with young Millennials (age 25-34) being some of the most voracious consumers of news podcasts. The latest INMA report looks at how the platform is evolving quickly with that audience potential in mind, talking with those who have been there since the beginning and those who are new to it. 

The INMA report looks closely at what is required to cultivate personal relationships with readers. Through eight case studies — BBC, The Wall Street Journal, Evening Standard, Toronto Star, El Observador, Los Andes, The Irish Times, NRC — the report examines how news media companies have responded to the growing popularity of podcasting and how they are using this format to reach niche audiences, develop sponsorships, and even create entirely new platforms for podcast distribution.

Felps shares these key takeaways from the report:

  1. Connecting with listeners must initially be a higher priority than monetisation.
  2. Podcasts offer five content opportunities: daily news, narrative series, talk/interview, documentary, and audio long read.
  3. COVID-19 created opportunities for new podcasts. Now it’s up to publishers to find ways to retain and grow those audiences.
  4. Revenue from podcasts is growing and is predicted to resume pre-pandemic projections in 2021. The five primary paths to profitability for publishers today are advertising, subscriber-only podcasts, events, subscriptions, and branded episodes.
  5. More publishers may explore creating their own podcast platforms. 
  6. The rise of voice technology and AI will continue playing a significant role in how audiences consume their news.

“As podcasting becomes as much a standard part of news media offerings as print and digital, publishers will have to change how they approach product development,” Felps said in the report. “But in the end, good content will do what it has always managed to do with proper execution: Find its audience. And where audiences flock, advertisers will follow.”

“The Engagement and Economic Promise of News Podcasts” is free to INMA members and available for purchase by non-members. For complete information and to download or purchase, click here.

About Dawn McMullan

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