Support Your Podcast By Encouraging Listeners to Unsubscribe

It’s Wednesday and I’ve already had 3 conversations this week on advertising in podcasts or somehow monetizing podcasts to support thousands of thousands of podcasts listeners.

If a podcast is so popular that it’s running out of bandwidth on a regular basis, there’s a really good chance the vast majority aren’t listening – even though everyone is downloading. This means that even if the podcast is supported by an underwriter/sponsor/advertiser the sponsorship message won’t be heard. Putting us back to wasting (at least) 50% of our ad dollar.

Downloading and not listening to a podcast is bad for everyone involved. It hurts the podcaster by artificially inflating their listener-base and eating up their monthly bandwidth. It hurts the listener by unnecessarily filling up their hard-drive. Throwing an advertiser into this will only hurt them – and if this statement from the media buying community is any indication – advertisers are no longer interested in throwing away ad dollars (finally):

“It’s not about reaching every consumer, it’s about reaching the right consumers.” – Carat North America CEO David Verklin

If you’re struggling to cover your podcasts bandwidth bills, I recommend 3 options before exploring advertising or switching hosting plans.

  1. Include a “if you’re not listening, please unsubscribe” liberally throughout your website and shownotes.
  2. Pursue your niche so aggressively that some listeners will fall away and unsubscribe naturally.
  3. Offer a BitTorrent version of your podcast.

If you’re not listening, it’s time to start unsubscribing (or at least stop downloading). You’re taking up downloading slots from people that are listening. On my end, I’ve just flipped the switch in NetNewsWire from automatically downloading audio files to not. Then, I reviewed each of the 40+ podcasts I’m subscribed to and checked ‘use custom setting -> automatically download audio files’ for the handful I listen to regularly. In iTunes, you can do the same by selecting ‘do nothing’ in the ‘when new episodes are available’ pulldown menu under podcast settings.

Take a moment now and support your favorite podcaster by unsubscribing.