by Mike Masnick

Now Let's Make Up Numbers For Podcast Revenue

from the who-needs-reality,-when-there's-hype? dept

It's sometimes amazing to see the amount of hype around various new media ventures, such as blogs and podcasts. The numbers being thrown around for how much these properties may be bringing in from revenue are often orders of magnitude away from reality. The latest is the claim from some analyst at Nielsen that top podcasts (defined as having 2 million downloads per month) could be bringing in over a million dollars per year -- and that's if they only have one sponsor. If there are podcasts with a single sponsor making that much money, it seems likely that the advertiser is getting ripped off. Looking at the number of "downloads" any podcast gets may be impressive -- but it's worth remembering that downloads do not equate to actual listens. For many users who set their computers up to automatically download podcasts, they may never actually listen to them -- making them worthless to the advertisers. While it's definitely true that advertisers are increasingly jumping into the podcasting world, the numbers we've seen suggest that they're paying a lot less than this Nielsen analyst seemed to pick out of the air. While it certainly would be nice for top podcasters to make a good living from doing what they do -- misleading numbers like this don't do much to help. Even if they could convince an advertiser to pay that kind of money for a little while, it wouldn't take long (you'd hope!) for the advertiser to realize the value received didn't match the dollar spend. Apparently the overhyping of podcasting hasn't died out yet.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 3:39am

    sssshhhh don't tell them

    Ignorance is bliss. I enjoy downloading and skipping the ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Republican GUn, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 4:06am


    The beauty is that they do not need to disclose any of this information. Unless someone is looking to buy the company. This all smells like 1998 when they were paying millions for shit they knew nothing about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Simon, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 4:42am


    When can we expect a Techdirt podcast?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Drama2Sell, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 5:38am

    Don't you feel sorry for advertisers?

    Jeez, all the stories lately on tech dirt have been about wasted marketing money:

    Skipping commericals on DVR/Tivos

    Click Fraud on Google

    And now not even the podcast is safe.

    Makes you feel just a teeny bit sorry for media buyers these days--seriously, where is one supposed to advertise now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Mark Kitchen, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 6:25am

    Re: Don't you feel sorry for advertisers?

    My car

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 7:09am

    Re: Don't you feel sorry for advertisers?

    Seriously, why do only racecar drivers get paid to have ads on their car? Ill slap one on my jeep!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    samson, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 8:03am

    Pod casts suck and are not worth money

    Nobody is going to get paid for podcasts. People who think they will get rich blogging or talking into their computer are crazy. If people have talent they make their money in real media that has standards (however slight). A homeless guy can use the public library to blog and pod cast, but who wants to listen. The only podcasts that are worth listening to are people who get paid on the radio and just put their show on podcasts for giggles. The king of podcasts, Adam Curry, is a great example. It is painfull listening to him or any shows he has. I have heard more intellegent conversations from Paris Hilton. The blog and podcast markets are less than one percent. You geeks just think it is bigger because that is the world you live in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Dosquatch, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 8:47am

    Re: Don't you feel sorry for advertisers?

    Don't cry for the ad guys just yet, we are absolutely deluged with advertising every day. Forgetting commercials, there are flyers, billboards, product placement in movies & shows, posters in stores. Sony ran the graffiti campaign. There's advertising that we have just stopped thinking about as such - like the carmaker's logo on the back of your car, the Starbuck's logo on your coffee, store logos on the bags you take away... millions of little mini-ads that we're paying to display. Some people pay even more to advertise, like the street racers who tattoo "Honda" in 18" letters diagonally across the hood of their car, and then... well, whatever. And there are companies that will pay you to shrink-wrap your car in vinyl ads as long as you drive a minimum amount each month. Some of 'em will even give you the car. Some companies stir up the occasional publicity lawsuit and manage to have the news advertising for them.

    Oh, don't you worry, there's no hurting for ways to wheedle their product into your brain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Brad Eleven, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 8:52am

    caveat downloader

    While Adam Curry has certainly claimed (and re-claimed) something of yet undetermined value by asserting that he invented podcasts, I don't think that the quality of his released programs is a reliable bellwether for podcasts in general.

    The podcast phenom reminds me of blogs, and not just because anyone can do it--or because people making money with either rely on sponsors (or at least, advertising). Like just about anything else, there are nuggets of gold in the most unexpected places--and turds abound, even with maxiumumly-marketed cred.

    Another similarity is that podcasts and blogs seem to come in two varieties: amateur and professional. Further, many professional (i.e., paid-for) podcasts/blogs really do suck out loud. The converse of this observation is left as an exercise to the reader.

    It is my opinion that the world has already changed, and that the larger institutions are not only way behind, many of them think that lawyers can help. Talk about fixing the barn door after all of the livestock escapes!!

    It's all about access. I'm old enough to remember when the only things available to people with something to say and no money or connections were:
    * leaflets/handbills
    * small newspaper
    * physical meetings
    * demonstrations

    Surely these activities had good/bad/ugly versions, too.

    And, yeah, blogs and podcasts show up bigger to me because it is, indeed, the world I live in. Even if the estimate of "one percent" is accurate (1% of what?), the impact of these media is palpable. The MSM can't shut up about blogs, some blogs have fans who don't read them, and there has been at least one major convention sponsored by a blog. Podcasts? They're everywhere: you may want to think "oh, those are just MP3 players", but notice that iTunes is a major podcast gateway.

    I don't agree that the only podcasts worth listening to are the ones from people who get paid. I know from experience that volunteer journalism in any medium is difficult to maintain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Scott Bourne, Jul 29th, 2006 @ 5:00am

    Podcasters Getting Paid

    Well I'm not making a million a year, but as to the comments that podcasters will never make money sorry - you're wrong. I am a podcaster and I make money. Enough to support myself in fact.

    Bottom line; while this report is obviously got some problems, and some people are quoting it out of context, there will be money made in podcasting. People are already making money in podcasting. I'm making money in podcasting. I know others who are making money in podcasting.

    The sweeping generalizations in Mike's post are simply unsupported by any fact. How does Mike know someone won't get real value for a million dollar investment in podcasting over a year?

    And while downloads don't have to equate to actual listeners Mike, magazine subscriptions don't have to equate to actual readers either. But the ABC circulation numbers help magazines sell millions of dollars worth of ads every day. Arbitron ratings don't have to equate to actual radio listeners either Mike, but radio stations sell millions of dollars worth of ads every day. Neilsen's TV ratings don't have to equate to actual viewers either Mike, but TV stations sell millions of dollars worth of ads every day. So why would you hold podcasting to a higher standard?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.