While defining success for a podcast can be subjective and contingent on various factors, one concrete measure is its ability to generate enough revenue to become self-sustaining. The number of listeners a podcast needs to be successful or self-sustaining depends significantly on its business model, including monetization strategies such as sponsorships, advertising, merchandise sales, live shows, crowdfunding, and subscription fees.
Don’t take software for granted
The type of software you use to bring in viewers and keep track of them should be of the highest quality, such as that offered by Podup. Then analyzing them. These are some of the most important functions of your podcast software. Make sure you are using the appropriate software apps – it can mean the difference between an internet graveyard and an online bonanza.
Never forget your sponsors
A commonly used monetization strategy is advertising, where a podcast typically needs about 1,000 to 5,000 listeners per episode to attract sponsors. This range is commonly referred to as CPM or Cost Per Mille, meaning the cost for a thousand impressions or downloads. Generally, a podcast can earn anywhere between $18 to $50 CPM, although this varies based on factors like the show’s topic, audience demographic, and advertiser demand. Thus, a podcast with 5,000 weekly listeners could potentially generate about $90 to $250 per episode from a single ad slot, and with multiple ad slots and frequency of episodes, this can add up. However, the production costs, time investment, and the marketing efforts required to maintain and grow the show should be taken into account.
Subscription models that work
Subscription models, like Patreon, allow creators to generate consistent income from their most dedicated fans. For instance, if a podcast has 1,000 loyal listeners who are willing to pay $5 per month, it could generate $5,000 monthly. In this model, a smaller audience could potentially be more profitable if they are highly engaged and willing to support the show financially.
Let’s take a look at some examples of successful podcasts. Joe Rogan’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” reportedly has over 200 million downloads per month. In 2020, Rogan signed a licensing deal with Spotify rumored to be worth over $100 million, demonstrating how a substantial listener base can lead to significant income. The “Crime Junkie” podcast, which has a devoted fan base and attracts millions of downloads per episode, utilizes both advertising and fan donations. They’ve grown into a successful business employing multiple staff members, indicating how a blend of monetization strategies can be effective.
“Chapo Trap House,” a political comedy podcast, operates largely on a subscription model, with over 38,000 Patreon supporters paying at least $5 per month as of 2021. Despite having fewer listeners than some top-charting podcasts, they reportedly make over $180,000 per month, emphasizing how a loyal and engaged audience can be more valuable than a larger, less committed one.
In conclusion, the success and self-sustainability of a podcast hinge not just on its number of listeners, but also on its monetization strategies and audience engagement. A podcast doesn’t necessarily need to have hundreds of thousands of listeners to be successful. A smaller, dedicated audience that’s willing to support the show financially can also result in a sustainable podcast. It’s essential for creators to understand their audience and choose the right monetization strategy that suits their content and listeners.