Newspapers and Publishing Groups Increasing Subscriptions With Podcasts

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Newspapers and Publishing Groups Increasing Subscriptions With Podcasts

As digital subscriptions continue to grow in popularity, a robust offering of media options is imperative to retaining subscribers. One offering that is quickly becoming a mainstay is podcasts.

Numerous publications, including established industry leaders Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, other international leaders like The Guardian (UK), The Independent (UK), and China Daily (Beijing), and cutting edge publications like the Los Angeles Times, The Tennessean, and The Seattle Times are already offering podcasts.

Here’s the inside scoop on how podcasts can broaden a subscription base, and how easy it is to accomplish.

Podcasts Are a Must In Modern Journalism

The upswing in paid subscription numbers for reader-supported, content-driven publishers is in large part due to an almost universal hatred of ads. Ad-based services can be bought, literally. Additionally, the deluge of pop-ups that no blocker seems to be able to completely obliterate is enough to send anyone running.

People are willing to pay for a subscription just to get rid of the ads. According to Nieman Journalism Lab, the average price in 2018 for a digital newspaper subscription is $2.31 per week. That is down from $3.11 per week in 2016. Since subscription numbers are on the rise, some of the focus can be shifted to retaining the new readership by making them feel like they are getting their money’s worth. The addition of podcast media gives publishers another avenue for reaching subscribers.

Podcasts have grown in usage and popularity. In an article from The Sydney Morning Herald by Peter Wells, the largest consumer listening app or destination is Apple Podcasts, which has seen the number of active shows in the directory grow from 3000 at in launch 13 years ago to over 550,000 shows on offer with almost 19 million episodes available. The most popular show is Stuff You Should Know with over 500 million listens and downloads.

Podcasts aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. Newspapers can use this new media venue to remain relevant and to attract younger, tech-savvy millennial crowds to their publications, keeping their well-established brands on the leading edge of modern journalism.

Publishing Podcast Media Is Easy

Articles or summaries of articles can be turned into podcasts by having the writers, newspaper staff, or outsourced talent read, edit, and produce the podcast. Likewise, publishers may even choose to outsource all of the aspects of production, editing, etc. of the podcast.

There are services with industry-specific solutions to help publishers establish a presence in podcasting such as, Backtracks. Backtracks is the company on the crest of the wave of audio as publishing format — forward-thinking, publisher and media industry-friendly, and technologically-enabled authority. Backtracks offers analytics, hosting, and transcription solutions for podcasts with special functionality for publishers and newpaper groups.

For example, the analytics of knowing who, what, when, and where people are listening to the time-shifted audio is invaluable to publishers, and Backtracks does the number crunching for you. This could allow publishers to tailor the listener experience, hone their delivery, and reach bigger audiences.

Additionally, if the newspaper also wants to have private as well as public content, Backtracks allows newspapers and publications to have private audio content that is only available to subscribers of the publication, or only to subscribers of the online edition of the publication. This service can add value to the subscriber experience.

Furthermore, with Backtracks, newspapers can easily have their audio content made available publicly on multiple platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Amazon Alexa, etc. It is easy for newspapers to create a customized, on-brand media players for their podcast that fits within their existing branding and style guidelines, ensuring cohesion. This can give their audience, subscribers, and fans who are familiar with them already a unified and streamlined experience.

Newspapers Moving Forward With Podcasts

There is no denying that creating podcasts using newspaper articles is a smart option for publishers. Podcasts can introduce a completely new audience to an already established brand. This infographic shows that 1 in 4 Americans are listening to podcasts at least once a month. The Podcast app on Apple platforms (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc.) is a permanent one. It can not be deleted, and not having content available on the app, or on any other digital media platform can cut a company off at the knees from that audience.

Utilizing an innovative company like Backtracks, which specializes in helping the publishing industry with tools, information, and experience through this transition can significantly reduce or eliminate the friction that introducing a new information and media platform could otherwise cause. A successful podcast launch provides a seamless alternate media option to readers. Backtracks has the expertise to accomplish this.

The future of any industry largely depends on its ability to adapt. Podcasts and companies like Backtracks are giving traditional, print news media a new and creative way to reach new readers, and retain existing subscribers.

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