I have the opportunity to listen to a third of the 77 podcasts that I am subscribed to. I had convinced myself that a lot of this time was spent listening to sponsors, but not only isn’t this the case, but on reflection it is clearly the incorrect way to be thinking about any of this.
Advertisement consumption has changed a lot in just the past ten years, but I respect the simplistic approach that the majority of podcasts adopt. A small amount of time is dedicated to sponsors resulting in a free piece of entertainment for absolutely anybody. This zero-barrier to entry is what gives me the freedom to over-subscribe to podcasts and be picky when it comes to listening to them during my workout or a bit of the more mindless programming.
There have been people who feel as though the sponsorships are archaic and we need to figure out a new way to monetise these podcasts, but the truth is that we drive on roads because roads work. These sponsorship slots are short, they usually cover the costs, and as a listener I end up purchasing almost everything I hear. These podcasts sponsorships work because they’re brought to you through the people you have chosen to listen to, and probably trust. If they are honestly telling me that Pixelmator is an awesome application for image editing on the Mac, I’m going to check it out.
I spent a week logging the time I have spent listening to podcasts. The total time spent on being told about a product is relatively tiny, and with a lot of the podcasts not even trying to sell anything, it’s remarkable how a lot of it sustains itself. Something that I love about podcasts is that people do it because they care.
Quick Note: The Talk Show was not released the week that I logged these statistics; thus it’s notable absence.