IMA Conference: The NPR Podcast Pilot Project

Maria Thomas, NPR; Joanne Wallace, KQED; John Hagel, Independent Consultant

Maria: 16MM downloads to date. Pilot project ends at the close of February.

John Hagel

The Future of Podcasting

  • Audience rapidly growing & changing
  • Technology rapidly evolving
  • Few standards in media
  • Tool sets for content creation are fragmented and proprietary
  • The standards and tools for measuring performance are largely missing
  • Competitive and business dynamics in early stages

Public Radio Podcast Posture

  • Move from Experimentation to Aggressive Investment

Shifting Economics of the Internet

  • Production/delivery costs going down, BUT…
  • Acquisition/retention costs going up – attention is finite!

“Shifting the economics from the product to attention.”

Product Economics > Customer Economics

How much does it cost to acquire an audience member? What’s the LTV of that audience member?

Scale Economics > Scope Economics

New Measure of Performance: Return on Attention (Gee, where have I heard that before.) 😉

Share of mind AND share of wallet

Enhancing Accessibility

  • Search
  • Serendipity
  • Subscription

Important are Findability and Usability.

Podcasting: The Good News and Bad News

Podcasting is…

  • Convenient – anytime, anywhere
  • Isolating
  • Limits full value of Internet – you’re no longer finding new things

Enhancing Serendipity

Content Products > Content Platforms > Audience Platforms

  1. Create content
  2. Curate (link)
  3. Co-Create
  4. Syndicate
  5. Build Relationships

Don’t underestimate the investment required for podcasting – but also don’t underestimate the opportunity.

Findability – primary value to audience

  • Search
  • Serendipity

Fundability – required for sustainable investment

Sponsorship is a challenge – lack of faith in metrics

Moving Forward – Broad Principles

  • Define complementary audience focus
  • Establish broad presence – be on as many sites as possible
  • Build critical mass in key initiatives – negotiating for positioning in aggregators, negotiating with sponsors
  • Create a sustainable partnership

Key Question

Who will build the richest relationships with audiences online using public radio content?

  • Third-party aggregators
  • Public radio system participants

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