Apple, Google and, more recently, Spotify may dominate the podcast market, but smaller media groups, even those in niche markets like Norway, are experimenting with podcasts to drive subscribers and ultimately generate more ad revenue.

This includes Schibsted, a Norwegian digital news publisher and owner of the tabloid newspaper VG as well as Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper by circulation.

The company currently produces 40 podcasts across its news titles in Norway, but importantly has developed a strategy of integrating podcast publishing into its proprietary editorial technology platform, called Core News Product, rather than having to rely solely on third-party platforms.

According to Digiday, Schibsted says it knows from ongoing tests that publishing podcasts both in its own channels as well as on external platforms increases total listening.

For example, its VG brand – to which a quarter (24%) of Norway’s 5.4 million people pay for access – already has around 15 different podcasts and plans to launch another five to ten over the next few months.

“This is both a necessity and a revenue opportunity. This is the smartest way to be forward-facing in the market,” said Helene Svabø, Schibsted’s commercial business developer of podcasts.

“We have the data and easy access to the tool and for us to use ourselves. It’s an innovation that was necessary for opening up a larger chunk of the market and gives us more control,” she added.

Other advantages that stem from Schibsted controlling podcasts on its own platform are the ability to analyse users’ consumption habits, so informing future content, while also recognising how to use podcasts to drive retention. Other benefits include readers being able to listen to podcasts while browsing content in the news apps.

“I do believe other news media companies would follow,” said Schibsted product manager Erik Saastad. “It’s easy to see benefits. It has a lot of potential for strengthening the existing business models, but also to open for new revenue sources.”

Sourced from Digiday