As digital subscriptions continue to grow in popularity, a robust offering of media options is imperative to retaining subscribers. One offering that is quickly becoming a mainstay is podcasts.
Numerous publications, including established industry leaders Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Economist, other international leaders like The Guardian (UK), The Independent (UK), BBC, and China Daily (Beijing), and cutting edge publications like the Los Angeles Times, The Tennessean, NPR and The Seattle Times are already offering podcasts.
Here’s the inside scoop on how podcasts can broaden a subscription base, and how easy it is to accomplish.
Podcasts are a Must In Modern Journalism
The upswing in paid subscription numbers for reader-supported, content-driven publishers is in large part due to an almost universal hatred of ads. Ad-based services can be bought, literally. Additionally, the deluge of pop-ups that no blocker seems to be able to completely obliterate is enough to send anyone running.
People are willing to pay for a subscription just to get rid of the ads. According to Nieman Journalism Lab, the average price in 2018 for a digital newspaper subscription is $2.31 per week. That is down from $3.11 per week in 2016. Since subscription numbers are on the rise, some of the focus can be shifted to retaining the new readership by making them feel like they are getting their money’s worth. The addition of podcasts gives publishers another avenue in their business models for reaching subscribers.
Podcasts have grown in usage and popularity. In an article from The New York Times, Jaclyn Peiser discusses the huge shift in podcast usage and loyalty that occurred between 2017-2019 and the continuous growth of the medium that is expected to remain on the upswing for years to come. She highlights The New York Times’ own internal growth that they’ve seen consume their popular daily news podcast, The Daily, as well as other podcasts in their network. She also quotes Tom Webster, a senior vice president at Edison Research, as crediting Spotify’s addition of podcasts and its acquisition of Gimlet last year as really moving the needle in listenership growth across the board. One of the largest consumer listening apps, Apple Podcasts, has seen the number of active shows in the directory grow from 3000 at launch 15 years ago to over 550,000 shows on offer with almost 19 million episodes available. Other listening apps dominating the consumer podcast market right now include Google Play and Spotify.
Podcasts aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. Newspapers can use this new media venue to remain relevant and to attract younger, tech-savvy millennial crowds to their publications, keeping their well-established newsrooms and brands on the leading edge of modern journalism.
Publishing Podcast Media Is Easy
Articles or summaries of articles can be turned into podcasts by having the writers, newspaper staff, or outsourced talent read, edit, and produce the podcast. Likewise, publishers may even choose to outsource all of the aspects of production, editing, etc. of the podcast. Podcasting has become such an innovative form of distributing digital content that there is now new article-to-audio technology recently released by Backtracks, that seamlessly transforms written content, like news content, into its own podcast episode.
There are services with industry-specific solutions to help publishers establish a presence in podcasting such as, Backtracks. Backtracks is the company on the crest of the wave of audio as publishing format — forward-thinking, publisher and media industry-friendly, and technologically-enabled authority. Backtracks offers analytics, article-to-audio technology, podcast player offerings and podcast and digital advertising solutions for publishers, media companies, advertisers, and newspaper groups.
For example, the analytics of knowing who, what, when, and where people are listening to the time-shifted audio is invaluable to publishers, and Backtracks does the number crunching for you. This could allow publishers to tailor the listener experience, hone their delivery, and reach bigger audiences. This could also allow for publishers to begin sourcing more targeted advertising revenue. The data transparency that Backtracks provides in its Switchboard offerings is invaluable to both publishers and advertisers alike.
Additionally, if the newspaper also wants to have private as well as public content, Backtracks allows newspapers and publications to have private audio content that is only available to subscribers of the publication, or only to subscribers of the online edition of the publication. This service can add value to the subscriber experience.
Furthermore, with Backtracks, newspapers can easily have their audio content as well as their written content made available publicly on multiple platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Amazon Alexa, etc. Their article-to-audio technology allows for a seamless transformation of written content into audio content. It is easy for newspapers to create a customized, on-brand media players for their podcast that fits within their existing branding and style guidelines, ensuring cohesion. This can give their audience, subscribers, and fans who are familiar with them already a unified and streamlined experience. The on-brand media players also allow for podcast engagement across social media channels with its innovative sharing capabilities.
Newspapers Moving Forward With Podcasting
There is no denying that creating podcasts using newspaper articles is a smart option for publishers. Podcasts can introduce a completely new audience to an already established brand. The Podcast app on Apple platforms (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc.) is a permanent one, as well as Google Play and Spotify. They can not be deleted, and not having content available on the app, or on any other digital media platform can cut a company off at the knees from that audience.
Utilizing an innovative company like Backtracks, which specializes in helping the publishing industry as well as media companies, with tools, information, and experience through this transition can significantly reduce or eliminate the friction that introducing a new information and media platform could otherwise cause. A successful podcast launch provides a seamless alternate media option to readers. Backtracks has the expertise and technology to accomplish this.
The future of any industry largely depends on its ability to adapt. Podcasts and companies like Backtracks are giving traditional, print news media, and news industry, a new and creative way to reach new readers, and retain existing subscribers in the United States and around the world.