Episode 323

full
Published on:

5th Oct 2023

Podcast Monetization in the Future with Sam Sethi

What does the future of podcast monetization look like?

Today I'm joined by Sam Sethi, founder of https://www.podfans.fm, a new platform embracing creator culture and a pioneer of the value for value movement within podcasting and beyond.

Fan of the show? Find it helpful?

You can become a supporter of the show via a one-off tip that I'll use to buy a beer at this link: Support The Podcast Accelerator: How to Grow Your Podcast.

Your next steps

I teach podcasting a lot and for free. So, here's what I'd recommend you do next:

  • Watch my free podcasting tutorials on YouTube: YouTube (Captivate)
  • Ask me anything at all about podcasting over on Twitter: Twitter

If you need help with anything at all regarding your podcast, get me on Twitter (Twitter ) and I promise to respond.



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

OP3 - https://op3.dev/privacy
Podcorn - https://podcorn.com/privacy
Podtrac - https://analytics.podtrac.com/privacy-policy-gdrp
Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
Transcript
Speaker:

What does the future of podcast

monetization look like?

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And in particular, what does the future

look like for the independent creator?

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It's something that a lot of podcasters

concern themselves with, especially in the

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world of minimum revenue guarantees and

minimum download thresholds for

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advertisements and big words being thrown

around like programmatic advertising.

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The good news is that as an indie, maybe

we don't need to worry about any of that

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so much.

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That is what we're going to dive into

today here on the podcast accelerator.

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I'm your host, Mark Asquith, and I'm

joined by a great friend and a wonderful

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industry thinker and an actual industry

doer, of which I believe there should be

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more.

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But we'll talk about that on another

session.

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We are going to talk all things value for

value.

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We're going to talk all things

monetization.

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We're going to talk all things the future

for the indie creator.

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And we're going to talk about the brand

new platform called

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hot fans.

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Welcome to the show, Mr.

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Sam Sethi How are you my friend?

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Wow, I need to have one of you just lead

in me, go in front of me in rooms and just

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introduce me.

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That'll be amazing.

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Toastmaster.

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like a David Brent thing.

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We'll get a nice boom box on my shoulder.

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We'll play a little bit of Tina Turner.

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You're the best.

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We'll just any room you need, my friend,

I'm there.

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I'm ready.

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I'm ready.

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That's it.

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We're done.

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Right.

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Hello.

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Hello.

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I don't like doing this because I know

that everyone really should know you like

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I know you because I know the fantastic

work that you do in the industry.

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But I want to get to some of the cool

stuff that you're up to with, with the

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product that you've got and some of the

thinking that you do, which I think is

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vital, but I'm going to do the thing that

everyone else does at the end.

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I'm going to say, Sam, tell us what you

do.

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And importantly, give us your bloody

website, mate.

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Okay, what I do, I co-host Pod News Weekly

with James Cridland.

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We've been doing that for about three

years.

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And so that's great fun.

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It allows me to interview cool people and

talk with James about what's going on in

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the industry on a weekly basis.

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And it's so, so hectic every week.

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Beginning of the week, I think, Oh God,

what we're going to talk about this week.

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And by the end of the week, it's like,

Jesus, cut that we haven't got enough

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time.

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And invariably, the Pod News Weekly

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We tried to make it a half hour podcast at

the beginning.

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It's invariably 90 minutes on average.

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It's ridiculously long.

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So apologies to everyone about that.

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And then on the side, just to keep myself

busy, I've got a new podcasting platform

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called podvans.fm.

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I love it.

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I want to dig into that in just a second.

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And before we do that, though, I do, I

want to set the scene.

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I think that pod news weekly 30 minute

aspiration is actually a really good place

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to start because that has been the

situation in podcasting.

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I mean, I want to say at least for the

last five or six years, it was felt a

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little different before that.

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It was there was a lot going on, but it

didn't.

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It wasn't I don't want to say mainstream,

but it wasn't as close to mainstream as it

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is now, which then incurred the fact that,

you know,

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wasn't as much money coming through it

because of that there was much less

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interest and then there was this startup

boom there was this money boom there was

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this boom of acquisitions and everything

just seemed to go crazy:

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things started to change so as someone

that's really at the forefront of the news

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and the response to the news every single

week it's easy for me to sit here and say

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things have changed things are slowing

down and for other people to comment and

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say things are slowing down but like is it

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Is that true?

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It doesn't feel like what you're saying

matches with some of the narrative that we

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see online.

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It seems as busy as ever.

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I think what we're seeing is that people

are still actively involved in podcasting.

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Yeah, there is a slowdown.

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I mean, we all know that COVID resulted in

people sat at home bit bored, got a mic

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out, started a podcast anchor gave it away

for free.

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We got a influx of podcasts that you know,

let's be honest, some were not very good

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and some were okay.

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But but it wasn't

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professionalizing it.

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Now what we've seen post COVID, of course,

is a lot of that's gone away, people have

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gone back to work.

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And that's fine.

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We've seen also companies now the stock

markets are beginning to say to companies

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like a cast and others look, oh, you,

you've got some money.

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Now we want to see some profit.

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Yeah, great that you are still revenue

generating.

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But Spotify, a cast, podimo, all these

others, let's see the money.

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And so there's been some downsizing of

people and cuts.

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I think the exclusives that were out

there, it was a good idea to start off

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with.

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Let's get, you know, big high profile

names, see if we can generate some numbers

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around it in terms of people and that will

lead to more revenue and profitability.

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Hopefully didn't quite work.

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But I think again, looking at global,

there have been some amazing alternatives

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where there's actually been a very clever

strategy.

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So the news agents been brilliant.

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I mean, the numbers you guys are hitting

are knocking it out of the park, but also,

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you know, look at.

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The rest is, you know, Goldhanger

Productions podcast.

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They've got, the rest is politics, the

rest is football, and they're doing really

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well with all of their titles.

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And I think crowd networks, there's a lot

of good solid companies who are producing

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good solid podcasts that are generating

real income and real revenue.

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Now, what does that mean going down the

long tail?

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Yeah, it's still hard work.

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I mean, you know, most people are, you

now, if they're getting above:

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listeners, they're still in the top

quartile, right.

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So podcasting is not quite yet, you know,

s of:

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But it is, I think an industry that's

gone, I liken it to remember web one.io

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when everyone had crazy valuations, and

there was a pop and everyone went, Oh,

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well, that's the internet over and done

with in law, let's all go home.

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And then suddenly web two came and it

stabilized and real business models

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occurred and real revenue occurred.

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And we are where we are today.

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And I think that's exactly what podcasting

is.

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It's, it's seen its early days.

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It's seen its massive pop rise with crazy

money coming into the industry.

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And now there's been a downturn and then

slowly, I think 23, 24, the end of 23,

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early 24, we're beginning to see proper

businesses and proper podcasting models.

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different revenue models, but proper

models.

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And so, yeah, I think we're a good

industry.

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It's okay.

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Yeah, I hear that.

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And I love the comparison to web one and

web 2.0.

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And we're going to talk about web 3.0.

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And I'm always amazed how it's taking so

many hosting companies in podcasting to

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get rid of their web 2.0 interfaces.

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And some of them still got them.

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You know, we all like stuff that looks

nostalgic, but time for an upgrade,

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people.

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Let's just move ahead with that one.

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And I think that's representative of where

the industry was, though.

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There was no real need to shift.

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And you know, all sort of flippancy aside

with that one, it was a genuine, that was

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a genuine issue.

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There was no honest reason to shift

because, you know, you think about the

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creator economy and you think about the

way that that's always worked and that's

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always generated revenue.

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And suddenly you get something.

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And I don't want to be the guy that

invokes cereal, but I've got to do it.

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You know, you get something like cereal

that puts podcasting on the map for the

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consumerism in a much bigger way.

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And.

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you know, the boom can be directly

attributed to that kind of feeling where

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everyone started to look at podcasting as

a media, as an industry.

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And I completely agree with it now that

we've come out of the end of what appears

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to be that talent boom, which, you know, a

lot of people say that was a silly move,

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you know, let's why, why acquire Joe

Rogan's the best example, if you're not

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going to be profitable.

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I do think there was a lot of strategy in

that around just acquiring users.

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And I don't think there was necessarily a

need for profit.

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I think it was a loss leader in many ways.

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Um, and it's.

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I think to a lot of people in the

industry, it hurt their feelings a little

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bit that podcasting was like the loss

leader for a platform.

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And again, I understand that because we're

close to the industry.

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But what interests me about the way that

you think and the way that you do things,

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and I think we think pretty similarly on a

lot of these issues, is that podcasting is

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sort of bundled in now.

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Everything that is on-demand audio is sort

of called podcasting now.

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And it's not, you know, if I go and watch

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a Marvel movie, whether that's on Disney

or whether that's in a movie theater,

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that's not bundled together with a home

video or something necessarily on YouTube.

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And I feel like podcasting has got that

yet to come where, you know, crowd,

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global, wondering, whoever's producing top

tier multifaceted IP that happens to be

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delivered via a podcast to start with,

eventually starts to sort of not become

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podcasts because

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we feel that the creator economy is where

podcast is.

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And we saw that last week or it was last

week, wasn't it?

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With the new Batman original from Spotify

that just doesn't have the word.

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It's an audio original, audio drama,

whatever the wording was, it just not got

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the word podcast.

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So do you think there's a challenge there?

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And well, I want to bring this back to the

independence in a bit because I think this

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is where pod fans work so well.

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But do you think that is, is that pie in

the sky thinking or is there something in

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that logic around why are we bundling

everything now under podcast?

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Well, it's become the Hoover of the words,

right?

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So when you say I'm going to go and Hoover

the lounge, you're not talking about

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getting the brand Hoover.

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It could be Dyson, right?

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It's the generic word.

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Google, we don't say search, we say we're

just gonna Google it, right?

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I mean, so I think podcasting has taken

that generic mantle of anything that's

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audio video that I can consume digitally

online.

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And the

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pragmatist, and I'll put myself in that

camp, you know, would say, well, it's not

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really because it hasn't got RSS.

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But look, 99% of people who are what we

call the normies are not bothered whether

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it has RSS attached to it, right?

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They open up Spotify, they open up

YouTube, they consume it.

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And to them, it's a podcast.

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So therefore it is.

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And we just have to get over ourselves.

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I think where we will evolve possibly is

new words will come out.

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maybe as you said, we talk about films,

then we talk about DVDs, and we talk about

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on demand, and we talk about streaming in

the video homeworld, you know, Netflix.

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But equally, I just said, I'm going to

watch a film on Netflix.

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And it doesn't really have to have that

connotation of a cinema attached.

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So I think language is loose and flexible.

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And I don't think we should get too hung

up on it.

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But I think as podcasters go, yeah, I

mean, I think

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think it's I'm I was against YouTube was

against audible in many ways, you know,

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calling them podcasts.

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I've sort of flipped I've gone like, you

know what, let it be because if we get a

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secondary glow from the word podcast have

been picked up by some 18 year old or 25

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year old who's just getting into it.

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And then they go, Oh, what other podcasts

can I use or listen to or watch?

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I'm happy.

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They will they will eventually

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get their education curve to where we want

them to be, but they have to start

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somewhere.

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Yeah, I felt that way about Anker back in

the day.

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You know, you get a lot of the incumbents

having a real good cry about Anker.

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You know, well, Anker's coming along and

it's free.

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And if you're free, you know, if it's

free, then you're the product, which is

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ironic, given, you know, that many of the

hosting platforms have freemium, which is

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wild.

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And I'd sort of treated that.

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That's how I treated Anker as a, in my

mind was it's just a freemium product that

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doesn't have a premium tier and guess who

was the premium tier?

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You know, here we are at Captivate.

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My logic was always the same that if

someone, I would rather someone start a

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podcast using anchor and it was free and

then realized, oh, do you know what?

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Okay, I enjoy this.

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Now it's time for something different and

Captivate was an option for them.

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Not even saying that we were the only one.

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I would just rather we were in that mix

rather than them just say, oh no, I've got

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to pay money for this thing that I might

not enjoy doing.

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And yeah, it's a...

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I feel exactly the same way about that.

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So I'm with you on that.

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I think that the evolution and the halo

that we all feel with regards to the word

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podcasting, taking on various different

meanings.

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I'm all right with that.

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I think that's OK.

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And there's merit to there's merit to open

in that market, because then to bring it

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back to the revenue stuff, which I really

want to dig into, you can.

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You can't bring more money in if you are

not making more people aware of what

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podcasting is.

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And if this is the way that it really goes

mainstream, then we can't.

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I don't think we can be that sad about it.

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So let's, let's switch up to the creators

then.

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So let's talk about pod fans.

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You know, even, even now, a lot of people

still think that monetizing a podcast as

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an indie with.

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You know, a hundred downloads, a hundred

listeners.

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is super tough.

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You know, they think it's difficult to get

sponsorships regardless of whether they go

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direct and they've got a super niche

audience or not.

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And many people are put off by that.

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There are other ways.

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All right.

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So we know about that.

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You've been a big pioneer of value for

value.

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And pod fans is there, this new product

that you're launching this week into the

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public domain properly is right at the

bleeding edge of that.

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So can you spend a second or two just

educating the audience on, okay, what is

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this whole value for value thing?

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What is pod fans?

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How does it work?

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And actually, why should we be interested

in this?

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Yeah, before I do, sorry, before I do, let

me take a quick step back because it looks

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blame why value for value is important.

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So when I was at Netscape, I was the

product manager, we created the browser

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HTTP was the way that people learned about

the language.

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And I remember going out and saying to

people, oh, by the way, Mark, it's called

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a browser.

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It's called a URL has starts with HTTP and

people were going never catch on.

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don't understand what you're talking

about, first of all, and secondly, you'll

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never catch on.

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It did, as we all know.

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So new vocabulary is always hard to get

into the lexicon of people's minds.

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The second part of that was Mark

Andreessen, my boss never created a micro

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payment system.

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So in the absence of it, we got hearts,

likes, thumbs up as sentiment analysis.

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So people wanting to tell the creator that

they like what they've done, that was all

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they could give them.

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There was no form of payment.

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Then the creators went, well, I need

money.

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I can't keep doing this for free.

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So that they ended up creating advertising

around the content.

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And that's where we got to today.

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Now fast forward, and we have something

called Bitcoin.

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Now, most people rolled their eyes the

minute you say Bitcoin.

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And if I say it's a digital wallet, and

it's called a micro payment, and they call

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Satoshi's.

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Again, these are all new words, people

look at you going that'll never catch on.

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It's all Swahili.

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I don't know what you're talking about,

Sam.

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Well, as I said, people didn't understand

what HTTP was either.

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So there are about 50 million people using

digital wallets today.

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So it's not, you know, small chump change,

there are a good number of people out

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there.

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And it's slowly catching on.

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We're seeing the numbers, you know,

through various wallets increasing.

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So what is a micro payment?

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What is value for value?

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So a micro payment is 100 millionth of the

Bitcoin, it has to be that small.

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And why do you need it at all when you've

got PayPal and Stripe and Visa and

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MasterCard and Apple Pay?

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Well, because all of those take payment

gateway fees.

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And because they take those fees, if I

just wanted to give you Mark 50 P or a

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pound for this show, I couldn't do it

because actually most of that money would

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go to the payment gateway provider, even

if they accepted that payment, because

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most won't even accept those small

payments.

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So

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This micro payment model came about and

that's the first part of it.

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Now value for value is just a simple new

economic model.

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It doesn't have to include micro payments

and Bitcoin.

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Value for value is simply you mark set a

value for the content you're creating and

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means the listener can agree with the

value you set or disagree and if I agree,

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I just pay it and if I disagree, I can

make it higher.

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I could say Mark you're stupid.

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boy, this is the best show ever.

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I'm doubling or tripling the amount I want

to pay you or I'm sorry, Mark, I'm a

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newbie.

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I haven't got quite into your show.

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So I don't want to pay you.

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I'm going to pay you nothing now.

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I'm going to listen for free.

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But when I become a fan, I will trip over

into paying you.

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So value for value is a very simple model.

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We have it in real world.

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You know, if somebody walks into a shop,

they see a sale ticket price, that's the

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offer price, they can legally go to the

counter and offer a different price, but

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we just too British, and we don't do it.

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But bartering is that way.

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It's a value for value is a very simple

real time model.

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Now, what's nice about it with podcasting

is because you get a digital wallet and

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you get these micro payments in them,

think of them as tokens, then, you know,

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it's a direct payment between you, the

listener and the creator.

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There is no third party.

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There's no middleman.

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There is no I'm going to do, you know, go

up here and I'm going to hold your money

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until I'm comfortable.

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There's no none of that.

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So direct payments.

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which is the root of what Web Wando 1.0

was.

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You know, if you remember Linewire,

Napster, Skype, it was a peer-to-peer

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system.

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It was Web2 that made it client server

again.

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And yes, you mentioned it earlier, Mark.

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So I'll say it again.

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Web3 is very much about decentralization

and peer-to-peer monetization.

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And so we're going back to the roots of

the web and value for value is a new

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economic model that really will benefit

podcasters

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And sorry, Mark, this is the last part.

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So the average CPM rate for an advert is

about $25.

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If you're a creator with less than a

couple of you know, 100 users, you're not

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going to get that $25 CPM rate, you're

just not.

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So what can you do, you can go and get a

sponsor if you're lucky, maybe you might

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get a few of your mates listening.

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Great.

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And who might want to pay you buy your

coffee or whatever it may be.

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But again,

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Kevin Kelly's seminal blog post was a

thousand true fans and all he said was

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look, stop chasing millions of people.

367

:

None of us are Joe Rogan.

368

:

So if you've got a couple of hundred

people willing to pay you 50p an episode,

369

:

a pound an episode, that covers your

hosting costs and gives you a little bit

370

:

of money.

371

:

Now scale that up to the likes of a news

agent at global with 10 million users and

372

:

you know, then the revenue numbers

outweigh anything you'll get through

373

:

advertising.

374

:

But we're just in the early days.

375

:

And so when this

376

:

crosses over and it will, then people will

probably not want to be interrupted by

377

:

advertising and they will willingly pay to

listen to content that they're a fan of.

378

:

We're starting to see that shift as well.

379

:

We're starting to see the trend of people

saying that podcasts have too many adverts

380

:

because that is the only way when you have

a large audience and the only extra thing

381

:

that you can do outside of listener

support, so through subscriptions,

382

:

memberships, or whether it's taking tips

as you alluded to earlier, the only way is

383

:

to simply insert one more ad slot, and

then again and again and again and again.

384

:

So you do start to see now that people are

starting to just say...

385

:

Hmm.

386

:

This is becoming a bit of an issue.

387

:

And then, you know, conversely, what you

then get is the model that you hear

388

:

throughout, you know, everywhere.

389

:

Every major production company is doing

this where listen, add free.

390

:

If you give us money per month and what I

like about the way this works.

391

:

And I'm always a I'm massively into new

tech.

392

:

I'm always looking and playing and

tinkering right in the earliest stages of

393

:

new tech.

394

:

And then as someone that runs a hosting

company, I'm always thinking, actually,

395

:

When do you bring this to the masses?

396

:

And when are the people that aren't in to

tech going to be ready for this?

397

:

And I agree, you know, I think eventually

people will get on board with this

398

:

thinking.

399

:

Because what I see as a major issue that

this begins to solve is that if I am an

400

:

indie creator, let's assume that I've

devoted my entire creator experience to

401

:

the Kevin Kelly logic, which I totally

agree with.

402

:

I've got my thousand true fans.

403

:

How long has it taken me to get those fans

to become true fans enough that they want

404

:

to pay me?

405

:

Like that entire, if you think about it in

marketing terms, as we always do, people

406

:

like you and I, that conversion period,

that sales period is long.

407

:

They listen to X amount of podcasts, a

number of episodes, and then they've got

408

:

to discover that they like you, and then

they've got to really like you, and then

409

:

they've got to be willing to give you

something.

410

:

and then give you something regularly

every single month.

411

:

Like that sales process is tough.

412

:

Does this go some way to solving that

problem because it is such a.

413

:

I don't want to say transient, because I

think that oversimplifies it and

414

:

diminishes it a little bit, but it's very

fleeting.

415

:

The decision, if that makes any sense.

416

:

So, so what we currently have today is

what I call the Chinese buffet mode.

417

:

So let's talk about Spotify or, or

subscriptions on Apple, right?

418

:

Pay me in advance for something I've not

consumed.

419

:

And if I don't drop a new episode, still

keep paying me because I want you to

420

:

because that's all that a subscription can

do.

421

:

Whereas with a value for value model, it's

a per minute payment basis.

422

:

So let's say

423

:

you start listening to a podcast and you

only listen to 20 minutes of an hour's

424

:

show, that's all you pay 20 minutes worth.

425

:

If you're listening to a book, exactly the

same thing model applies for value for

426

:

value.

427

:

I've listened to two chapters.

428

:

I don't know how many books I've gotten

audible that I've got a third of the way

429

:

through and never listened to all of it.

430

:

The same works of video.

431

:

And most excitingly, this model is also

now working for music as well.

432

:

And that's one of the new things that's

come out.

433

:

So you might only listen to 10 tracks

instead of listening to 50 tracks, but why

434

:

pay for the 500 tracks in advance that you

never listened to?

435

:

problem with that is if anyone listens to

Meat Loaf, each song's going to cost them

436

:

45 quid.

437

:

Oh, if anyone listens to Meatloaf, you

just shoot them.

438

:

I'm going to tell that to the karaoke

group at the local pub because on Friday

439

:

night, they get wild up there, mate, for a

little bit of meat.

440

:

But no, I like that.

441

:

I like that.

442

:

I'm interested in the way that technology

thinkers like yourself will take what can

443

:

be very abstract concepts like value for

value, like, you know, Bitcoin, like the

444

:

Satoshi element of Bitcoin and do what all

the good people really have been doing

445

:

since day one, which is putting technology

446

:

that doesn't feel scary in between us and

that what appears to be the backend

447

:

technology.

448

:

So tell us a bit about Podfans because

that's exactly what this does.

449

:

It's a well thought out product from good

thinkers to simplify something that can be

450

:

complex for the creator.

451

:

So tell us all about it.

452

:

Tell us what Podfans does.

453

:

And really what was the idea behind it?

454

:

Where did it come from?

455

:

Sure.

456

:

So, complexity is fail simplicity is one

of my favorite sayings.

457

:

And that's a guy called Edward De Bono

came up with that.

458

:

When we started pod fans, there was no

point in trying to replicate Apple and

459

:

Spotify, right?

460

:

Just a subscription based model.

461

:

We would fail.

462

:

And when I started pod fans, probably a

year to 18 months ago, Bitcoin was just

463

:

forming the Lightning Network, which is

this fast real time payment system was

464

:

just forming.

465

:

So these were new ideas.

466

:

Core part of it is I firmly believe that

people's time and attention has value.

467

:

And that value is I will only pay for what

I consume and I'll only pay for the time I

468

:

listen rather than pay it all in advance.

469

:

So when we found that this micro payments

existed and it was possible to do a per

470

:

minute payment system for digital content

of any sort, that was the embryo for

471

:

starting pod fans.

472

:

So RSS, as we all know, is an open

ecosystem.

473

:

You can consume anyone's RSS unless

they've blocked it or made it exclusive.

474

:

And on that basis, we decided that we

wouldn't have advertising as the

475

:

monetization model for creators, but we

would have this peer-to-peer direct

476

:

payment system from fan to creator.

477

:

So to build that, we had to fundamentally

start with creating the database, then we

478

:

had to create.

479

:

wallets and we have to create the

mechanism for measuring in real time

480

:

across everyone who's listening.

481

:

So we do we do a per second analysis over

the API.

482

:

And we make and then we aggregate that

bundle per minute and then we pay it.

483

:

And it works.

484

:

It just works, right?

485

:

We spent a year building this and it

works.

486

:

And that's the cool thing.

487

:

So now

488

:

when you're a new user to podfans, it's

very simple, you join and in the

489

:

onboarding process, you either have an

existing wallet, or you don't.

490

:

If you do, we just verify against your

wallet, off you go.

491

:

The learning curve is great because you

already understand what a payment system

492

:

is, with micro payment and what a wallet

is.

493

:

So now you're just understanding how my

platform works.

494

:

And you know, the intricacies of my

platform compared to other platforms.

495

:

If you haven't got a wallet, and that's,

you know, again, we have to reach those

496

:

people who don't understand this.

497

:

then we've got to educate you on the

onboarding as to how do you get a wallet?

498

:

And we do that.

499

:

And then we put in 10,000 sats into your

wallet as a part of the process and we

500

:

reward you and we're trying to teach you

as well we call learn and earn.

501

:

So we're trying to say to you look, you've

got your wallet you've joined here's some

502

:

tokens here's some sats in your wallet.

503

:

Now give us your email address or pick

your first five favorite podcasts or

504

:

listen to your first show.

505

:

and we will reward you for completing

tasks that add up to 10,000 sats.

506

:

So when you get into the system and you

click play, it works.

507

:

You don't have to go, Oh God, do I have to

get a credit card out now?

508

:

Oh, I don't want to do that.

509

:

I don't know these people.

510

:

We also, as I said, we reward time and

attention so you can earn by being an

511

:

active user.

512

:

So let's say it was a fan of your podcast,

Mark.

513

:

I could be sharing it.

514

:

I could be boosting it, which is a comment

with a payment.

515

:

I could be clipping in a piece and putting

that out to my social network.

516

:

Each one of those is a verb, boost, clip,

share.

517

:

And we've put a gamification engine inside

of pod fans.

518

:

So we know there's 30 verbs.

519

:

We know what exactly you do when you're in

the platform and we can allocate points to

520

:

that.

521

:

So yes, you pay if you choose to listen to

a podcast, you don't have to, but you also

522

:

can earn by being an active fan of a

podcast.

523

:

So we think that two way value for value

model.

524

:

is what we've built and that's pod fans.

525

:

the element of rewarding the attention of

a listener as well.

526

:

I think that's really, really useful.

527

:

Even the gamification element of anything

is always so powerful.

528

:

And I do think that podcasting is yet to

really capitalize on that.

529

:

We see words like engagement banded about

so much, but no one really does anything

530

:

with it.

531

:

So I really like this idea that you've

embraced that.

532

:

And a lot of people are going to start to

say things like, okay, well, actually

533

:

I listen to most of my podcasts on the go.

534

:

I listen to most of my shows when I'm

doing something else.

535

:

And it's usually on a smart device,

usually on a phone or whatever.

536

:

So how do you handle that?

537

:

Are you available mobile?

538

:

Can people listen using mobile and using

pod fans?

539

:

Yeah, the good news is we've created

what's called a progressive web app PWA.

540

:

And all that means is browser based.

541

:

It's not in the iOS store or the Google

Store.

542

:

We don't pay Apple a 30% tax for any

transaction, which is why we did it.

543

:

And it means it works across iPad, laptop

and mobile in the same way.

544

:

And we just size the screen down to based

on the size of screen.

545

:

So that's really cool.

546

:

The one thing I was going to slightly

change one thing there was a report this

547

:

week Mark just bear with me.

548

:

Ashley Carmen from Bloomberg put out a

report saying that podcasters now

549

:

beginning to fake their numbers in terms

of downloads.

550

:

And why are they doing that?

551

:

Well, fake until you make it is an

expression that you hear many

552

:

entrepreneurs being told to say but

553

:

reason they're doing that is because they

want to get that $25 CPM.

554

:

Oh, how many how many people download your

book?

555

:

Oh, yeah, a couple of 1000 people.

556

:

All right, well, we'll sign you up.

557

:

There you go.

558

:

You can have some advertising.

559

:

And then they find out it's a couple of

hundred people.

560

:

So that is something that is quite common,

I'm afraid in the in the community.

561

:

And also, we all know if you use something

like an Apple podcast, it auto downloads,

562

:

that doesn't mean you auto listen.

563

:

So you could have a back catalog of

hundreds of podcasts you've never listened

564

:

to.

565

:

But that gets reported back as a download

and therefore the advertiser thinks, oh, I

566

:

should be paying for that.

567

:

The last part of that mark is also we

don't know how far along in a podcast the

568

:

person's listened to.

569

:

So let's say there's three adverts, the

one at the beginning, middle and end.

570

:

We all know the one at the end generally

doesn't get listened to.

571

:

We know the one in the middle probably

gets skipped.

572

:

If it doesn't get skipped, it will get

listened to.

573

:

But we can't 100% know for certain.

574

:

Now with pod fans, we know for certain,

because we know exactly how many minutes

575

:

you've listened to, at what point you

dropped off.

576

:

So we've got three metrics that we've

worked with a company in Canada who have a

577

:

similar thinking called Bumper.

578

:

And it's time listened, percent completed

and value paid.

579

:

And you bring those three metrics together

and you can roll that up to a creator so

580

:

they know exactly how long each listener

listened, but also in aggregate how...

581

:

where people dropped off in your episode.

582

:

You also know how much value was paid for

it.

583

:

And those three, when you go back to an

advertiser, if you still want to put

584

:

advertising into your own podcast, you

can.

585

:

And then the advertiser is going to be

confident that yeah, actually, you know

586

:

what, Mark?

587

:

80% of your listeners listen to that

advert.

588

:

Great, I'm going to continue paying it.

589

:

So again, we've got this old download

model.

590

:

We've got this fake it until you make it

and use a number model.

591

:

And again, that's all changing as well.

592

:

So...

593

:

The way that we're doing micro payments,

it'll be not just good for creators

594

:

linking to their fans, but it also be good

for advertisers trying to be 100% certain

595

:

that their adverts are even being listened

to.

596

:

It's such a challenge that because I think

this is responsible for a lot of the

597

:

downside of the boom that we saw.

598

:

So where we are now basically in the

industry, you know, the renewals of big

599

:

brands looking at partnerships and looking

at even programmatic and so on where

600

:

they're doing big ad buys across various

networks or different types of show.

601

:

You often find renewals are so much more

challenging than the original sale because

602

:

you're absolutely right.

603

:

We can report on downloads, but that.

604

:

That was only sexy when podcasting was

really, really new and it was the only

605

:

metric.

606

:

But now those same people are walking into

the meetings and saying, actually, all

607

:

right, downloads are fine, but what did we

get?

608

:

And you can't you can't constantly just

use brand positioning as the answer to

609

:

that.

610

:

And we know that's happening.

611

:

We see that at the highest levels of

podcasting.

612

:

We see that at the highest levels of ad

sales.

613

:

And we see it reported very, very often,

which, as you said, leads to what we saw

614

:

reported.

615

:

today through Ashley.

616

:

So yeah, I get it.

617

:

I think it's fascinating.

618

:

Now I think the thing that I would say is

the indie producer, so the person that's

619

:

really, really busy, the person that is,

you know, getting the 50 or the 100

620

:

download, you know, good loyal audience,

but actually, they've not got that much

621

:

time.

622

:

What's this going to do for them?

623

:

Is this a challenge from a timing

perspective?

624

:

Do they need to put piles of time into

working with something like pod fans?

625

:

Or how does this accommodate those?

626

:

Really simple.

627

:

So we we've ingested probably about

500,000 podcasts and we'll increase that

628

:

over the next few months.

629

:

Obviously, all 4 million aren't what we

want.

630

:

We talked about anchor earlier.

631

:

So but we'll get all the best podcasts we

think they're out there.

632

:

If yours is one of those podcasts, all you

have to do is then claim it.

633

:

And when you claim it, you get access to a

backend dashboard for pod fans.

634

:

Now

635

:

A pod fan sets a default value for every

podcast out there at 100 sats per minute.

636

:

So an hour show is six thousand sats.

637

:

What's that in real money?

638

:

About 50p.

639

:

Right.

640

:

So it's not a big problem.

641

:

So once you've got a value for every

episode, you as the creator, once you've

642

:

claimed your show, can go and change that

value.

643

:

You can say, oh, OK, I want my show to be

10 sats per minute or a thousand sats per

644

:

minute or zero.

645

:

You can pick what you want.

646

:

In the value for value model that will

just change at the front end and the

647

:

listener will go Oh, that's the new value

that's set by the creator.

648

:

But in the value for value model, I as the

listener have that final say I can still

649

:

change that value as well.

650

:

So as a creator, no, you don't need to do

much you go in and check that the podcast

651

:

that you that's yours is there you claim

it and verify it and it has to be verified

652

:

and we'll

653

:

And then once you've done that, you set

your own values and then you market that

654

:

out to your listeners that this is what we

do and your listeners then have choices,

655

:

pay it or not pay it right.

656

:

But there isn't much more you have to do.

657

:

There's no, Oh my God, do I need to know

how to do a tag in the middle at minute

658

:

one with a DAI link here and something

else and do I need to rub my head and

659

:

scratch my tummy to do this?

660

:

No, it's fairly self-explanatory because

you've got to, you get given a wallet when

661

:

you joined.

662

:

So it, you know,

663

:

It's the same for creators as it is for

listeners.

664

:

You just need a wallet to be receiving

your sats into.

665

:

That's what I like about this concept is

that, well, like we said earlier,

666

:

simplifying the complexity of all of these

mechanisms and moving parts that are

667

:

required to benefit from blockchain

payments and so on and so forth.

668

:

I think that's the real strength behind

the scenes of this is that I can set it

669

:

up.

670

:

And I know the word wallet, I know that

works, but I don't generally have to worry

671

:

about it.

672

:

So I commend you on that, my friend.

673

:

I think that's fantastic work.

674

:

What's the timeline for pod fans then?

675

:

So this is, we're here, we're at 28th of

September.

676

:

2023, what's the status of pod fans now?

677

:

What's the next six months look like to

wrap this up?

678

:

So earlier this week, we took off the

wrapper.

679

:

It's now a beta product.

680

:

It was an alpha.

681

:

And so it's mobile, it's desktop, it's in

all those screens in between.

682

:

That's great.

683

:

And yeah, please go and use it.

684

:

We've also built a really, I mean, talking

about paying SATS, Mark, we've built a

685

:

feedback model where if you give us a bug

report, we pay you in SATS as a thank you.

686

:

So we give you some SATS for reporting

bugs.

687

:

If you give us a brand new feature

suggestion,

688

:

give you some slats as well for that.

689

:

So again, there's ways of getting earning

it.

690

:

But fundamentally, yeah, you can go in

there.

691

:

You can use it.

692

:

Now what we are doing is increasing the

servers.

693

:

We're building this.

694

:

We talked about it very tangently.

695

:

We're building a new music element to it

as well.

696

:

So lots of independent music artists are

now being said, I don't really like

697

:

putting my music on Apple and Spotify.

698

:

I don't really make any money, but they're

beginning to create RSS feeds for their

699

:

music.

700

:

and uploading those to the index and then

we can download those and using a payment

701

:

model value for value, they can get paid

directly by their fans and Ashley Ainsley

702

:

Costello, sorry, an artist on who's done

this said on Twitter or X that she made 20

703

:

or dollars when she did it across 60

streaming platforms and she made $400 in

704

:

one day doing the same thing using SATs.

705

:

artists are beginning to understand and

artists more than podcasters have a deeper

706

:

connection to their fans.

707

:

I mean, we all love to think our fans love

us, but realistically they are a little

708

:

bit flirty.

709

:

If we went away, they'd go away.

710

:

Right.

711

:

They wouldn't chase us down and find us.

712

:

But if a music artist goes, you're like,

Oh my God, I love you.

713

:

Where have you gone?

714

:

Right.

715

:

And, and their commitment to music is much

higher.

716

:

So

717

:

The value for value model works really,

really well with music.

718

:

So we're adding a music element very

shortly to it as well.

719

:

fascinating work as someone that builds

software, my friend, I know how difficult

720

:

this is to pull off.

721

:

And yeah, come on, commend you on the

work, but also just the way that you lead

722

:

in the thinking as well.

723

:

So yeah, absolutely commendable workers

always.

724

:

And I think everyone should just give that

give this a whirl, even if I'm always a

725

:

fan of trying things anyway, I think even

if you don't stick with it, I'm not saying

726

:

that would be the case with pod fans, but

please, anyone listening, just go over

727

:

there and try this and you can find that

at podfans.fm.

728

:

So I heartily recommend that you do that.

729

:

Well, Sam, it's always a pleasure.

730

:

I know you've held an event this week with

James, which I'm sure was absolutely

731

:

fantastic.

732

:

I was out of the country for it.

733

:

So I'm sorry I couldn't be there, but if

it's anything like the Manchester one, I

734

:

know it would have been a roaring success.

735

:

And yeah, look forward to seeing you in

person soon, my friend.

736

:

Indeed, indeed.

737

:

And we're going to a Liverpool game

together.

738

:

So that'll be even more fun.

739

:

That sounds good.

740

:

Speaking of that, I appreciate that.

741

:

I cannot wait for that.

742

:

I'm looking forward to that.

743

:

If you would like to send Sam and I some

beer money for that, you can do that at

744

:

mark.live slash support.

745

:

It's like we planned that, Sam.

746

:

It's like this smooth segue into sending

747

:

Thanks for watching!

748

:

Any industry events outside of your own?

749

:

No, no, I mean, I think we're coming to

the end of those.

750

:

So we did our own one and I also went to

the British Podcast Awards this week and

751

:

gave out an award.

752

:

The next big event, Mark, for me, and

maybe you might be there, is the one in

753

:

the LA podcast movement.

754

:

I will be there.

755

:

It'll be the first time back on the West

Coast since COVID because of the family

756

:

and travel.

757

:

So I'm excited for that.

758

:

We actually booked the hotel.

759

:

We booked the flights.

760

:

We are there.

761

:

So I'm excited for that.

762

:

And for you listening out there, if you

are interested, go to podfans.fm.

763

:

And if you've got any questions, just get

in touch with us on the usual channels.

764

:

The Twitter's all, I'm not gonna call it

X, the Twitter's the best way to do that.

765

:

And I'm at MrAsquith and Sam.

766

:

You're over on Twitter as well, aren't

you?

767

:

at Sam Sethi or at JoinPodFans.

768

:

Just come and ping me and I'm more than

happy to give you an answer to whatever

769

:

question you have.

770

:

Amazing stuff and for you listening, enjoy

yourself.

771

:

Thank you for tuning in.

772

:

It's always a pleasure until the next

time.

773

:

Keep on doing what you do.

774

:

Keep sharing your voice, your thoughts

with the world and look after yourself.

775

:

Bye bye for now.

Supporters of the podcast

Thank you to all of the wonderful podcasters who support The Podcast Accelerator via a small tip. I use these to buy a beer at the weekend or to buy yet another microphone... your support means a lot, thank you!
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Josh Liston $5
One of the few. One of the best.
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Definitely overdue doing this - loving the new run of episodes, dude
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Glad the show is back!!!
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Mark Asquith £15
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Show artwork for The Podcast Accelerator: How to Grow Your Podcast

About the Podcast

The Podcast Accelerator: How to Grow Your Podcast
Helping busy podcasters to grow their audience in tested, actionable ways.
Hosted by Mark Asquith, the accomplished co-founder, and Managing Director of podcasting platform Captivate, The Podcast Accelerator is your comprehensive guide to mastering the art and business of podcasting. With a strong focus on delivering actionable insights, cutting-edge strategies, and industry-leading knowledge, this podcast is designed to help you propel your podcast to the next level.

Drawing on "That British Podcast Guy's" extensive experience in podcasting, The Podcast Accelerator covers an array of topics, from content creation and storytelling techniques to audience growth and engagement strategies. You'll also discover the secrets to podcast monetization, unlocking the full potential of your show to create a sustainable, thriving venture.

In each episode, Mark shares his expert advice, tips, and best practices, often collaborating with industry influencers, successful podcasters, and other specialists to bring you a diverse range of perspectives and insights. The Podcast Accelerator delves into the nuances of podcasting, exploring both the creative and technical aspects, as well as the latest trends, tools, and technologies shaping the industry - all backed by Mark's experience in the industry since 2013 and over two decades of building successful businesses.

The Podcast Accelerator releases new episodes every Thursday at 12pm GMT (7am Eastern). Early access to episodes, available two days ahead of the public release, along with exclusive, member-only content, is offered to members as a benefit at https://mark.live/support.

Whether you're a seasoned podcaster seeking to refine your craft or a newcomer looking to create a powerful podcast from the ground up, The Podcast Accelerator offers an invaluable learning experience. By tuning in regularly (and for free in your podcast app of choice), you'll gain a wealth of knowledge and practical guidance that can be immediately applied to your own podcasting journey.

If you ever need help or have any questions, Mark is always accessible and eager to provide assistance. You can contact him directly at https://mark.live/twitter, where he promises to respond, every time!

Join Mark Asquith on The Podcast Accelerator and immerse yourself in the exciting world of podcasting. Empower your passion, elevate your skills, and transform your podcast into a compelling success that captivates audiences around the world.
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About your host

Profile picture for Mark Asquith

Mark Asquith

Known as "That British Podcast Guy", Mark is one of the United Kingdom's original podcasting experts. He is Managing Director & co-founder of podcast hosting, analytics & monetisation platform Captivate.fm which was acquired by Global in 2021 and is known worldwide as an insightful, thought provoking and actionable podcast industry keynote speaker.

Mark has educated on podcasting and delivered thought leadership at events including Podcast Movement, Podfest, Harvard's "Sound Education" and many more.

His focus is on helping people to achieve their own podcasting goals and on improving the podcasting industry for the long-term.