First off, this post defines podcasting is an effective way to deliver highly niche audio to a very enthusiastic audience (the World English Bible translated into Klingon or Tips for Triathletes in the Southwestern US for example).
Secondly, the numbers used here are rough and make for easy math.
Let’s say you’re making one show a week for a year. Here’s a quick pass at some costs:
Monthly Server & Bandwidth costs ($40 * 12 months): $480
Production and editing effort per show ($200 * 52 shows): $10,400
Equipment Costs (mics, software, etc): $500
- Beer, coffee, and other production/editing necessities per show ($20 * 52 shows): $1,040
- Monthly Server & Bandwidth costs ($150 * 12 months): $1,800
- Equipment Costs -mics, software, etc ($500 amoritized over 5 years): $100
Let’s say we’d like to gross $40,000 for the year (a fair amount for doing only one show a week).
Adding all this up puts your annual costs at $42,940.
For the sake of easy math, let’s say you have 1,000 listeners – the circulation of a small town Nebraskan newspaper like the Bayard Transcript. Frankly, the worldwide audience for a Klingon version of the Bible is probably a thousand.
Dividing the annual cost ($42,940) by the number of listeners (1,000) and the number of shows (52) makes the cost per listener: $0.8258
That’s less than a $1 per show per listener (iTunes – 99 cents, WalMart – 88 cents, coincidence?). One Dollar. $4 a month. $42.94 a year. Kris over at the Croncast settled on nearly the same numbers.
With numbers as small as these, I don’t see advertisers beating down the doors of podcasters. In the broadcast world, millions of dollars are sunk into spectrum, hardware, and talent. This gives advertisers the upper hand.
Early on, Heineken realized it was easier to start their own podcast than enter into an advertising agreement with the Rock ‘n Roll Geek Show. I agree. The economics of podcasting make it far more attractive to start your own thing than shoehorn in an awkward ad subsidized model.
If we go back to the original podcasting is best with niche audio assumption, there’s a point where the “ad message” is as valuable to the listener as the “show message”. One degreee further and the podcast is produced by the “advertiser” as part of their marketing campaign.
That’s far more interesting.
If your favorite podcaster has a tip jar (Croncast, IT Conversations, Evil Genius Chronicles) I encourage you to give them a dollar for every show you’ve enjoyed.