The US publishing group Vox Media is attempting to double its revenues from podcasts this year, indicating how the digital audio format is more than just the latest ‘pivot to video’.
Already, the publisher of titles including the Verge, the newly-integrated tech site Recode, and the eponymous Vox, makes over $10 million a year in podcast revenues across its more than 200 different shows, according to new reporting from Digiday. But now, as the market grows, it is attempting to hit $20 million from podcasts just this year.
The division has hired “dozens” of new people to bolster its capabilities in terms of editorial content, a move which has allowed Vox to sell more varieties of advertising – host-read ads, programmatically bought ads, or even full branded podcasts.
Its creative studio has also added a strong audio capability that insiders expect to create the majority of branded audio segments that can be served across the network.
The report is interesting for several reasons, one being the clear eye that Marty Moe, Vox Media president, casts over what is otherwise a rich source of growth that has brought in as many as 100 different advertisers. Moe believes that the really rapid growth is over, and now the company will have to switch tactics to grow the number of advertisers while focusing its growth on the core hit podcasts, such as Pivot with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway or The Ezra Klein Show.
In that way, Vox’s predicament indicates a relatively standard model of maturity visible in other industries where constant low-level innovation will no longer deliver and growth must come from the core.
But it’s a good predicament to be in: Vox makes hits and has an audience receptive to trying out new shows in its portfolio. The prospect of a big audience for a new show means that it can start selling advertising and monetising the podcast quicker than if it had to build up a following from scratch.
For many brands starting out, there’s often a nasty surprise in terms of how much marketing you need in order to get people listening. Happily, Vox’s ability to sell an audience rather than the promise of one is what the brand counts on.
At a broader market level, one of the knottier barriers to investment is measurement. The market share split across Apple and Spotify is one key issue, as the former measures downloads and the latter measures listens.
As excitement grows, platforms, publishers, and agencies will be sweating to provide the clearest view possible to the effectiveness of this new medium.
Sourced from Digiday, WARC, Chartable