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I miss the office, I miss seeing our teams all over the world, as much as I miss analyzing each juicy new episode with the members of My Dad Wrote A Porno , or perusing copies of the latest Pod Bible magazine with Scroobius Pip.
You see, Acast was founded on two equally important principles that have guided us in everything we’ve done since. First of all, we strongly believe in the open podcasting ecosystem, and we will defend it. Second, the creator is the most important player in all of this and should always come first. And right now, I miss seeing ours.
Podcast creators live and breathe this fabulous and fast-paced world of audio that we all inhabit. They are the soul, the beating heart , of podcasting .
Needless to say, an open model is not what is being pursued in every corner of the podcast industry, but I would also add that not all the moves that have been made recently are in the best interest of the creators.
I want to explain a bit about why we think open podcasting and a creator-first approach are so important, why sticking with this strategy is the best way forward for an industry that is experiencing such explosive growth.
“In the contemporary media environment, audiences have more options than ever in terms of what they consume and how they consume it. We believe that our role is to create engaging, innovative and relevant content for our audience, wherever they may be. Breaking the barriers between creators and the people who consume their work is the most important thing, all of us who work in podcasting must focus on it, instead of building an ecosystem that makes it more difficult or more difficult for audiences to interact with the content that they want, “Rebecca Costello, CEO of Schwartz Media .
The importance of open podcasting
“Open” podcasting is the foundation on which the entire industry was built: in short, an ecosystem that allows content creators to share their work with listeners everywhere, through all the applications and podcast players that exist.
The magic of podcasting is discovering a new show that you look forward to sharing with friends, or following one for so long that you feel like part of a family, and all of that is made possible by the open nature of the industry. There is no concern of “Awg, I’m an Android user so I can’t join the party”, or “I don’t have that service” barriers.
Quite the opposite of what is happening in the television industry, right now, I don’t need to be a member of six different streaming platforms to enjoy all the different shows I want. Podcasting makes it wonderfully simple to have all the podcast content I want in one place.
At Acast we call ourselves “platform agnostic” to reflect the fact that everything we do, all the tools we create, and all the partnerships and integrations we agree to, works on any podcast listening platform out there. That is, of course, unless that platform specifically chooses not to support a product, despite its clear benefit to the creator.
And that also applies to our approach to monetization. Open podcasting doesn’t necessarily mean that all content should be free, for example; rather, all creators should be able to monetize their program in the way that suits them best.
We believe that every podcaster should be able to make money from their craft, in as many places as possible, whether it’s through advertising, branded content, member-only features, or soon even ad-free broadcasts.
It means that we are not tying podcasters and listeners to a single platform, or excluding anyone, the only sustainable way to build an engaged and consistently monetizable audience for our podcasters. Acast is not a “walled garden”, which also means that we can pay creators wisely and fairly, no matter where or how their content is consumed.
So, it was quite timely that, while other platforms in the podcasting ecosystem announced big moves in recent weeks, we launched a new collaboration with Patreon that will do just that: allow any creator of any size to make money from their content across all. the platforms that support it.
“I really believe in the open podcast ecosystem, to the point where we recently turned down a lot of money to make all of our content exclusive. You must captivate people where they are and, to do so, you must be available on all podcast hosting platforms, as we have been able to do through Acast. When you put your business in one basket, you may like the initial payoff, but that short-term gain can limit your long-term opportunities when no one else can find you. And especially when you do work that is meant to benefit underrepresented communities like ours does, you need to make it easy for those communities to find you, “Chris Colbert, CEO of DCP Entertainment , home of podcasts including Toure Show , WokeAF and Say Their Name .
Our first step in democratizing podcast monetization came nearly seven years ago, which seems like a lifetime in pod-years. We invented the True Dynamic Ad Insertion (TDAI) for podcasting, allowing advertisers to change the ads inserted in podcast episodes according to their desired target audience, or to include new messages or products; for example, regardless of how long the episode being broadcast was originally posted.
Every time a person listens to a podcast, be it a new episode, an old one, or one they’ve already listened to, we inject a set of individually tailored announcements and sponsor messages, placed into the episode’s streaming in real time. That means two people can hear different commercials, even if they are listening to the same episode at the same time, and we can give millions of parallel listeners their own unique combination of commercials, in the fraction of a second it takes them to press ‘play’.
No other podcasting ad provider can do this on the server side, which is why we refer to our technology as dynamic ad insertion supports open podcasting by allowing advertisers to reach audiences within the application of their choice. he listens, rather than being limited to smaller groups of people using a specific platform. Most importantly, it supports creators by helping them earn money from all the listens and downloads their content receives around the world.
Keeping this approach open is absolutely vital for the creator economy to continue to thrive as it has up to now. You can have all the advertising dollars in the world, but without podcasters, and without listeners, there are no podcasts.
“I started with Acast about six years ago and despite many options along the way as different companies tried different approaches on how best to present podcasts and indeed to profit from them, not once have I been tempted to go elsewhere as I think they got it right from the start. Putting the focus on getting podcasts to have a wide audience and then generating profit from there, without compromising what listeners get and how easily they get it, is truly the heart of what podcasting is and should remain. . Reach and audience first, and important, but firmly secondary, profits and profits. ”Scroobius Pip, host of Distraction Pieces .
Putting creators first
Acast has grown to be the largest podcast company in the world, and with that position at the forefront of the industry, we know we have a responsibility to creators. It is up to us to make sure they are treated fairly and that they can earn a living doing what they love, and we fulfill that commitment by always putting their interests above those of others.
From the beginning of our relationships with podcasters, we have worked closely together to make sure ads are right for them. We insist on high-quality ads and sponsorship or host messages, rejecting brands if necessary and, vitally, protecting the ad load so that listeners are not overwhelmed with brand messages.
We’ve also spent many years collaborating with our platform partners across the industry, be it Apple , Spotify , Google , Pocket Casts, or any of the dozens of other companies interested in podcasting, to advocate for the interests of the creator and ensure that their needs Come before any new technology or partnership.
When the pandemic first hit, we recognized the impact this could have on ad revenue and, in turn, on our creators, so we immediately got down to business creating our Supporter tool, developing and launching a new source of income for creators, from scratch, in record time.
“The Acast Supporter feature has changed the game for our podcast. Simply by asking our listeners to donate a few dollars to help us pay for our sound engineer, if financially they have the possibility, we have been able to receive support outside of advertising to help us continue producing two episodes of our podcast each week, despite being in confinement for most of the year. We love the messages that come with donations from collaborators; We are comforted to know that this incredible community we have built considers us their friends, in the same way that we consider them. The Acast Supporter feature has only strengthened the connection with our listeners, “Kate Jones and Mandy Hose, hosts of Too Peas In A Podcast .
Additionally, in the past few months we’ve added new ways for creators to earn money, including monetization options for podcasters of all sizes. Very soon we will have some really interesting products that are in the works.
It is very clear in our minds that, before anything else, we must drum for podcasters of all shapes and sizes. We will continue to do everything we can to help you keep creating content and making money from it, in an open, diverse and inclusive podcasting ecosystem.
We will do everything possible to support and enhance that ecosystem. In the meantime, I will continue to look forward to real life interactions with our teams and our brilliant podcasters.