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Podcasts in Europe: from scaling to monetization

What it takes to succeed in the world of podcasting

The popularity of podcasts is taking the world by storm, with Europe being one of the latest places to see a boom. But what does it really take to get into the audio production business, what are the options for monetization and how do you scale?

The eighth session of #MediaRevolution looks at the basics of podcast creation and how to make it in the audio format. The Fix gathered the key points of this discussion.

Kristina Vazovski, podcast host, producer. “Tolk studio: creating a podcast empire in post-USSR countries”:

  • Tolk is a Russian podcast creation and optimization service, helping companies produce high quality audio content. 
  • Tolk works across different stages of production – from idea development and script production through to audio editing. It also provides companies with technical support.
  • The company also produces a few podcasts of their own and creates a lot of educational content for beginners in podcasting. 
  • The Russian market has little diversity in terms of topics covered by podcasts. That’s because podcasts are new and require investments. Most media companies prefer cheaper alternatives (or simply ones they are used to), like talk shows or interviews. 
  • The studio also works closely with influencers and big media companies to promote their service on other platforms, like radio or YouTube.

More from The Fix: What is your newsroom’s audio strategy

Katerina Azhgirei, Alexander Starodetko, Co-Hosts of We Haven’t Finished podcast. “We haven’t finished!” podcast: creating podcasts in Belarus”:

  • We haven’t finished is one of the leading podcasts on mental health in Belarus and one of the first podcasts in the country as such.
  • Launching the first podcast in Belarus two years ago wasn’t easy. The local podcast market wasn’t as developed as those in English-speaking countries.
  • Most radio companies in Belarus believe podcasts are just another, more innovative way to reach their audience and give new life for their radio content. 
  • We haven’t finished struggled to sell advertisements on its own. The Belarusian audio ad market suffers from a lack of sales managers competent in selling audio products. This is a broader issue for the whole Russian-speaking podcast industry.
  • As a result, the podcast team also relies on income from Patreon. Reader revenue is still small in Belarus as people are not used to “pay for content”. Most people refuse to financially support audio production, even though the content is high quality and appeals to their needs.

More from The Fix: Daily news podcasts are now in the league of mainstream news products

Dominic Kraemer, Katy Lee, Co-hosts of The Europeans podcast. “The Europeans” podcast: behind the scenes”:

  • The Europeans narrative podcast focuses on political and cultural aspects of life around the continent.
  • By interviewing creative talent across Europe, the company aims to help their audiences discover the continent as a place for cultural self-development.
  • The Europeans podcast was launched through the Anchor project for podcast production.
  • In English-speaking world, the podcasting market is extremely competitive. Most of the biggest podcasts are made by either celebrity hosts with massive followership or huge news orgs. 
  • Having friendly relationships with colleagues across Europe helped the media gain listeners in its early days.
  • The Europeans also has a Patreon account which helps them maintain contact with their core audience (in addition to generating revenue).
  • The main financial support however comes from grants and partner European foundations.  
  • The European market is still fragmented, mostly because of the diversity of languages and cultures across the continent. It’s problematic to support audio content for all of them.

More from The Fix: Pan-European media space: emerging European media community needs support

Open discussion: Non-English podcast market has been booming in Europe. What is the opportunity in these markets?

Alexander Starodetko:

  • Media should gradually prepare audiences to support them financially in the future. Listeners won’t jump on your Patreon after the first time they hear about it. Adding kind reminders here and there in each episode can really help.

Katerina Azhgirei:

  • Don’t be afraid of failures and never stop experimenting. There’s no path for quick success in creating a good audio product.

Katy Lee: 

  • Think of what benefits the company can offer to their listeners in exchange for their financial support. It can be a free ad show or a special project promoting goods or services.
  • Keep in touch with your listeners on other interactive platforms. The Europeans created a Facebook group to facilitate discussions on relevant topics.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of traditional media. The mentions of The Europeans in other media significantly increased the size of the podcast’s audience.

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

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