Podcasting models mature and diversify

“When podcasting reaches its potential size, looking more like peak radio penetration thanks to these many new and improved sources of discovery, we’ll start to see several revenue models arise to support the diversity of content now possible by untethering the form from RSS.”

How do I want to start out my 2018 predictions? By saying “I called it” for 2017. Last year, my predictions centered around the high-touch, high-value propositions that content creators needed to put forth in order to ensure their own survival — from niche print titles (like my own, ), to premium/paywalls that have been the lifeblood of news outlets such as The New York Times, to the flourishing world of audio that I get to explore as content director at .

These high-value propositions not only survived in the tumultuous year of our lord 2017 — one that saw digital-first operations like BuzzFeed and Mashable fall far short of revenue projections, slashing jobs and pivoting to video as they frantically tried to find an advertising model to sustain their heavy costs — they thrived. Why? Because they got much of their revenue directly from their audience, proving that in the era of platform dominance, an ad-supported model for journalism might always be a part of the mix, but it can never be the complete picture.

Instead of further gloating, I’ll make some more bold predictions for 2018:

Search and premium come to podcasting

With the acquisition of earlier this month, Apple made a bold move to reclaim some of the territory it had ceded to competitors in the realm of audio discovery. This is a signal that Apple sees the upcoming year of podcasting as one battling between itself, Google, Amazon, and platforms such as Acast — all trying to surface content to a podcast audience that doesn’t yet exist. That these big players don’t yet have a route to monetization, the way that Acast and Megaphone do, isn’t what’s interesting here — it’s that they’re betting on the who don’t regularly listen to podcasts to start listening through new ways of discovery.

Search, in-home devices, and native apps are all muscling into a territory that they will help expand quickly, giving podcast creators tremendous new freedom in storytelling formats and even revenue models. When podcasting reaches its potential size, looking more like peak radio penetration thanks to these many new and improved sources of discovery, we’ll start to see several revenue models arise to support the diversity of content now possible by untethering the form from RSS — short-form, daily, one-offs — supported by ads, subscription, or in-app purchasing like and many others, finally yielding the diversity that has always been podcasting’s essential promise.

We’ll tell you what’s important

I see the consumption models of content eventually hovering around two ends of a spectrum of engagement. On one hand, an atomized stream of content delivered around algorithmically and socially derived recommendations served to us via tech platforms — from Google Home to Twitter to Instagram — all interconnected and constantly calibrating to make sure we’re getting the most relevant content served up to us in our hands.

And on the other end of the spectrum, a complete lean-back experience, served to us when we barely remember we asked for it (hopefully inciting some whimsy and surprise), in a format that focuses our complete immersion in the experience. Of course, I’m talking about magazine — a print-only product we ship four times a year — filled with stories that we deem interesting, that have underappreciated subject matters, headlines that you’d never click on, and images you can’t encounter in a Google search. To enjoy our magazine, and the , other quarterlies that continue to pop up, you must completely surrender to the idea that you have almost no control over the content experience — your trust is our hands.

is director of content for and publisher of .

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Burt Herman   Things get real

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Jake Levine   The return to now

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Errin Haines Whack   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Paul Ford   Go global

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

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