From an inauspicious beginning, podcasts have become a central part of the content flow at Empire, the world’s biggest film magazine, and attracted some unexpected partners.

Editor Terri White explained, at a recent IAB Event in London, that the first podcasts had been put out seven years ago by a few enthusiastic staff with no support. “I think it was a good couple of years before anybody really noticed that we were doing this,” she said.

And since there was no budget of any kind associated with the podcast team’s efforts, no-one was looking at the numbers. “But it actually started to do really well.” (For more, read WARC’s report: From print to podcast: Empire builds out its offer.)

One of the reasons for that has been that Empire’s podcasts can do what other film-related podcasts can’t, leveraging the title’s extensive relationships with filmmakers and actors.

“We have had some incredible guests on this podcast, and it became a really important part of our content flow,” White explained, “because there’s stuff you can only do in the digital space due to the timing of when [a film] comes out.”

There is, she explained, a “golden window” in the week of release and the week after, which doesn’t sit well with the lead times of a monthly print magazine.

Empire has also been able to use the format to exploit unexpected moments, such as the time Steven Spielberg offered 45 minutes, by simply having a chat and turning it into a podcast.

“It was a brilliant way to showcase our access, but also to get into a deep conversation about his work,” White noted.

Such conversations and the sense of intimacy fostered by the podcast format results in highly engaged audiences of the sort advertisers adore.

A sponsorship deal with Sky Cinema has been an obvious brand fit, one with The Economist less so, but “they love the authority of our environment”, said White.

“They love the commitment of our audience – that trust and that passion and that heart that comes with being part of that community,” she added.

Sourced from WARC