I released 5 episodes of the newly-created Indie Hackers podcast in March and made about $1000 from sponsors. That's one sponsor per episode at ~$200 each.
Today new episodes get over 20k downloads within their first week, but back then each episode got about 2-3k downloads, tops.
One could make the argument that a business/tech podcast like Indie Hackers can land more lucrative advertisers than a basketball-focused podcast. But on the flip side, I was also completely new to selling sponsorships, editing and promoting the show, etc., and the podcast was just one of many things I was doing on my own.
Regardless, if they're doing multiple episodes per week, each receiving 50k downloads at minimum, and each with multiple sponsors, I'd guess they're making a much more comfortable living than their Patreon numbers suggest.
So, what do you think? Their Patreon subscribers are only ~$60,000. Are we talking $500k total with ad sponsorships? $1M? More than that?
Did you actively reach out to them, or did they contact you when you got big enough?
I've written about various parts of the process in a few of my month-in-review posts here: https://www.indiehackers.com/blog
I've heard that sponsors pay more for podcasts than they do for youtube videos. Any idea why?
Plus, hosts usually read the ad copy, which psychologically connects people to the sponsors in a way that has only really been done in very early TV and radio.
By way of example, the Crooked Media podcasts (Pod Save America, etc.) include ads in which the hosts also discuss their private lives, personal disagreements, and pop culture, which creates this weird kind of serialized drama/discussion that carries through either within an episode and between ads, OR in ads for the same product but across multiple episodes. All of that makes listeners more likely to listen to ads instead of skipping them.
Basketball is the most played sport in the world for the past 20+ years (Arguably) and I think in 30 years NBA will be the second biggest sport in the US and it already is 2nd in the world.
But basketball has a surprising advantage in potential players in that China is mad about basketball. The last time I was there the enthusiasm I saw for the sport, especially with young players rivaled anything I’ve seen outside of my own basketball obsessed childhood home of Indiana.
Which leads to another conclusion. If I were betting the most popular sport globally I’d probably bet on Ping Pong, just based on Chinese school children participation.
> But basketball has a surprising advantage in potential players in that China is mad about basketball. The last time I was there the enthusiasm I saw for the sport, especially with young players rivaled anything I’ve seen outside of my own basketball obsessed childhood home of Indiana.
> Which leads to another conclusion. If I were betting the most popular sport globally I’d probably bet on Ping Pong, just based on Chinese school children participation.
Basketball flat out isn't. Every single adult male in China could play it and it still wouldn't be the most popular sport in the world.
Cause Soccer certainly isn’t played at that scale.
You ignore all the players in China that are mad about Soccer.
If any sport takes over in those places it basically rockets to the top of the list (thus cricket which is a marginal sport most places is very popular globally based on Indian participation).
So you can say my bet on basketball is not ignoring Chinese soccer participants it’s just a bet that basketball will outstrip soccer in China.
An estimated 700 million people watched the 2006 finals of the FIFA World Cup. In 2014 the entire tournament was watched by an estimated four billion people and that's just one event.
Unless the Chinese population explodes to 5 billion people overnight and they ALL start watching basketball, the two sports aren't even in the same league.
The Chinese Basketball Association puts the player count in China at 300 million today.
Almost 200 million people watched a single non-championship basketball game in 2007.
That’s the thing, people just completely misunderstand the scale of China (and India).
When talking about population based stats the rest of the world doesn’t matter.
Meanwhile I suspect even though regulation soccer requires a lot of space, you’ll be able to find a pickup game in very space constrained places like Rio.
That is, I don’t find the equipment argument very compelling on either side.
In saying the most popular sport in the world I am talking about what people participate in the sport. There have been a strong argument that while Football/Soccer is the most watched sport in areas where it is played the vast majority o players are under 14 and due to economical factors the adult populations do not have time for leisure.
Also people don't understand how global basketball has become the last 20 years (I really think it is tanks to the Dream Team of 1992). Right now in the U.K. for under 25 year olds Basketball has replaced football as the most played sport there. Also for places with bad weather it is easy to play basketball inside.
I tried to find the original source so I could check the methodology and couldn't - but i'd guess that a telephone survey of 35,000 people being extrapolated out to the entire world population leads to bad results
The second part of that statement - that Basketball is the most popular sport in Australia - is verifiably false as the governments own data shows it at only the 7th most popular
The last FIFA census estimated that there are 265 million people playing in organized games with 5 million referees. We're not even talking about pickup games - which is what the research in your link is about (I'll ignore the quality of research methodology for now) - we're talking about organized leagues. The number of people who play pickup soccer games is much, much higher.
Sure fans are educated, but I've listened to a lot of NBA podcasts and while lots of them bring up salary numbers, these guys get into the nitty gritty of the CBA quite a bit more than the typical NBA pod.
How else will advertisers know every step of their listeners?
Podcast advertising has been around for a decade and somehow, just somehow, it has not been as "toxic" as you imply.
You can see this lucidly in the case of Bill O'Reilly. People had already known his deal for over a decade, but it wasn't until his ad dollars were pulled (after a public pressure campaign) that he was dethroned. That's an example of the kind of media system that is fostered by advertisement.
EDIT: changed 'decades' to 'over a decade'. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/a-timeline-of...
The great thing that podcasts have going for them as a product is they're super cheap to make (relatively speaking). Podcasters willing to compromise the product by taking on more obtrusive advertising will get outcompeted by those who don't. It's ideally how media sites in general would work, but those are expensive enough to run that most sites resort to intrusive ads.
Like...podcasts are a lot of work for not a lot of return in the current environment. That's why advertising happens: because making a few hundred bucks an ep off of a preroll and a midroll, for a show with ten thousand active listeners or so, makes the argument for continuing to do it. Metrics are gonna keep mattering because it's the only way to make it a creative work that can at least pay for its time.
It sucks, but hey. We say we like capitalism.
So many people in the media seem to feel that what people want is interviews. Bill Simmons is a great example, he has very good podcasts when he just sits around and talks to his friends/coworkers about sports (or pop culture or whatever). But he seems to want to be a talk show host and do interviews... and very few people can do interviews well. And even fewer people make a good interview.
1. It never mentions gambling or fantasy sports, which makes me suspect it’s a native ad for the NBA. I bet that a good percentage of the 745 Patreons are really into gambling on the NBA, in some form — how could the article not mention that!?
2. It starts off with some headline listener stats (e.g. “hundreds of thousands of listeners”) and later admits the hard truth that listener stats are not reliable. You only know if people have downloaded a podcast — not if they listened.
3. It perpetuates the myth that Serial is the most successful podcast. I also used to believe that, until I learned otherwise at the LA Podcast Festival.
4. It mentions, but doesn’t properly emphasize, that the $7 Patreons get to download a spreadsheet (which, again, they probably use for gambling). So, really, these guys are both podcasters and data providers. The podcast is how they market their data service.
5. It classifies them as a financial success, without saying how much they make. We know they get about $5,400 per month from Patreon (split 2 ways). I’m not sure how much they earn from Blue Apron, etc. I know $2,700/month doesn’t go too far in San Francisco. Also, they don’t divide $2,700 by the number of hours they spend watching NBA games, compiling their data spreadsheet, and producing the podcast.
6. Gives the obligatory main stream media reference to Gimlet Media, calling it “successful.” Does Gimlet make money? How much? How much does Gimlet pay its employees?
7. The headline is unnecessarily snarky, implying that podcast listeners are looking for vanilla, short, mainstream content. In reality, niches are the biggest areas for opportunity in podcasting. The headline should not start with “Even This...”
The article says they get between 50,000 and 140,000 listeners per episode. They publish 5 shows a week. Episodes start with a 10 second pre-roll, 90 second mid-episode, and 30 second post-roll. The rates calculator at AdvertiseCast  suggest industry averages of $6/CPM for the pre-roll, $15/CPM for the mid-episode ad, and $11/CPM for the post-roll. That's $32/CPM total, or $1600 ad revenue.
20 episodes a month at $1600 per episode gets you $32,000/mth in ad revenue.
Edit: As a bonus, the Entrepreneur On Fire podcast has some similar math about CPM rates for their show, with the hint "now you can see why I love doing a daily show": https://www.eofire.com/podcast-sponsorships/
The downloads-to-listens ratio is, of course, largely bullshit in one direction or another.
For other metrics, some podcasts take listener surveys, like the annual TWIT Audience Survey: https://twit.tv/survey
The vast majority of podcast listeners download directly from iTunes. There’s simply no data on who actually listens, and how long they listen.
My claim is that anyone who claims to have data on podcast listen stats is wrong.
Also, Danny writes for a few different places pretty regularly and has a book out, so I'm sure he's doing okay from that. He's also the host of a RealGM podcast. Nate is the actual host of the podcast and not every single episode includes Danny (though 95% do) so there's a chance it's not an even split.
Not to say listeners don’t use the info for those purposes, but it’s not a value proposition they even hint at IMO.
The Patreon page says that "we are each taking home half of what we bring in". In context that could be limited to the Patreon subscriptions, but it seems to indicate a 50/50 split of all revenue.
Now, certainly, people have memories and pay attention and start to draw their own inferences, but I think the target market feels more like "Basketball Nerds" than gamblers or fantasy players. Is there a benefit to the latter two to listen to this podcast? Undoubtedly. But I just don't "feel" (yes, subjective) like that's the push they're making.