We learned recently that podcast advertising is as lucrative as creators and advertisers alike had hoped. That’s great news for the industry—but many, many podcasts are niche, under-the-radar passion projects that don’t have the benefit of lucrative ad dollars from the likes of Squarespace or MailChimp. RadioPublic, the for-profit spinoff of public radio marketplace PRX, knows smaller podcasters are likely to be shut out as the industry grows, which is why its new Paid Listens program will guarantee payments to podcasters on RadioPublic, regardless of their audience size.
As RadioPublic cofounder and CEO Jake Shapiro explained on Medium:
Here’s how it works: podcasters make ad-free episodes available in their feeds, we place ads on our platform that bookend each episode, and we pay participating podcasters for every listen on the RadioPublic apps for iOS and Android, at a $20 CPM.
On its face, this might sound like the type of monetization arrangement Facebook has inked with publishers and creators. But Shapiro claims RadioPublic doesn’t intend to tether podcasters to ad revenue longterm. Instead, RadioPublic wants to build a “healthy ecosystem from the ground up,” by securing a number of revenue streams for creators.
“Soon we will support listeners who prefer to pay podcasters directly instead of hearing an ad; brands who pay users to opt-in for more info; podcasters who invite their true fans to become paying members,” he writes.