You know the email, the one that has a message that puts fire in your bones!
One such email landed in my inbox today, it was a forward. The sender was wondering about a future shift in podcasting from shows that are free and sustained by ads to subscription-based revenue. What caught my eye and put a fire in my chest, was the idea that the shift was in the future!
The sender had failed to realize that the shift is happening right at this moment! Unfortunately, in business, many of us are late to the party when it comes to industry shifts. We fail to see the writing in the sky and shifts in the sand.
The truth is that the signs are all around us! We need to be intentional about our business strategies rather than reactive. Take a peek into my thoughts on the subject below.


As an avid podcast listener, I enjoyed reading TechCrunch’s recent deep-dive on the future of the industry. The article covers a lot of ground, but I found its central question to be especially poignant for publishers: will podcasts continue to be supported by a freemium or ad-supported model (like many streaming music services), or will the market take a page out of the streaming TV playbook and opt for a paid subscription model instead?
For the Financial Times, the answer to the question posed by TechCrunch may lie somewhere in the middle. While the publisher doesn’t offer paid subscriptions to exclusive podcasts, it sees its podcast program as “a fertile hunting ground” for finding new paid subscribers for its members-only content.
The idea of using podcasts as a new distribution channel also came up at a recent breakfast we hosted for Keywee customers and friends like The Atlantic, Dow Jones, and National Geographic (you can read more about the event, and sign up for future ones, here).
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the topic – do you think podcasts will continue to be supported by ad revenue, or do you think the industry will swing toward a paid subscription model?


The industry ALREADY has swung to a paid subscription model because ROI is greater for subs than ads.

I’m not sure why they are posing this as a question. Many podcasts already have subscription-only content. As she said, people are currently using the freemium model -> podcast on iTunes as funnel step into the monthly subscriptions where subs get exclusive content for their monthly fee.
Is this not a subscription model and the BEGINNING of a subscription-only shift? Was this not Hulu in 2016?
The subscription model is already there it’s just a matter of using freemium or taking the leap to full subscription only. The industry currently offers ad only, but again the subscription model is already available and being used. There are just those of us that haven’t jumped.