Why Daily Podcasts Work (And Why They Don’t)

Broadcast room

Tuesday’s newsletter was all about the phenomenon of daily news podcasts. Paid subscribers were treated to insights from Dave Hamilton from BackBeat Media (who sells advertising for The Addition) and Tom Merritt from “Daily Tech News Show” (which I appear on roughly once a month). They are very much worth reading.

I was also in contact with Gabriel Soto, director of research and Edison Research. His comments were so interesting that I thought I would share the email he sent me below.

Are these daily news shows popular?

Yes, news is the third most listened-to podcast genre among U.S. podcast consumers, after Comedy (#1) and Society & Culture (#2). Shows like The New York Times The Daily, The Ben Shapiro Show, and Up First are the most prominent shows behind that consumption.

Why do they work?

Aside from the demand to know what’s current, Daily news shows do an outstanding job of instilling themselves into listeners’ daily routines. Getting ready for work, during morning commutes, or while cooking dinner are just some activities that can cue a listener to turn on their device, fire up their podcast app, and listen to their favorite news show. Repetition is a great way to form a habit, and a habit is a great way to retain an audience that a podcaster can lose at any moment to other media like music, television, social media, or video games.

Why do they not work?

There’s one major monetization obstacle for daily news creators: advertisers’ reluctance to buy ads on news podcasts. Rather than risk being associated with controversial coverage of the war in Gaza, for example, brands have chosen to market their brands elsewhere.

Do we have too many?!

It depends on who you ask. The consumer is okay with a variety of news podcasts from which to choose. Whether it’s news from a positive angle or a particular ideological viewpoint, choice is a characteristic that drives people to the medium. Ask the creator, however, and they’d probably mention how many shows they have to compete with in a saturated genre that faces an uphill battle with advertisers hesitant to buy ad space on their due to brand safety concerns. Yet, I still believe creators can differentiate themselves in many ways in this fast-growing medium.

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