Spotify hints toward plans for podcast subscriptions, à la carte payments – TechCrunch

Spotify again indicated its interest in developing new ways to monetize its investment in podcasts. Company Fourth quarter earnings, Chief executive Daniel Eck, predicted a future for the streaming media company, where there would be several business models for podcasts, including, possibly, ad-supported subscriptions and a la carte options.

The company, which also revealed its podcast catalog has now reached 2.2 million shows, adding that its demand for the audio format has been increasing in recent months.

For example, 25% of Spotify’s monthly active users now engage with podcasts, up from 22% last quarter. Podcast consumption is also increasing, with listening hours doubling from year to year in the fourth quarter.

Today, podcasts on Spotify’s platform are available to both free and paid users and are monetized with advertisements. This is still an important focus for the company – more recently Spotify Acquired Megapone, a podcast hosting and demonetization platform, to help make streaming ad entry technology available to its third-party publishers, while also expanding its targeted podcast inventory.

But Spotify recently told its followers about the various means of monetization of podcasts.

For example, at the end of last year, The company was seen running a survey If it asked its customers if they were willing to pay for a standalone podcast subscription, and if so, how would it look and how much would it cost?

At the time, the survey offered a few different concepts.

On the low end, a subscription can offer $ 3 per month ad-supported exclusive episodes and bonus content. This will be similar to Stitcher Premium, which today offers discounts from top shows and other bonus episodes. But the suggested version of Spotify included advertisements, while Stetcher Premium is ad-free.

A middle option suggested a plan that, with special shows and bonus content, would also be close to the Stecher Premium, but no advertising. This also matches the Stitcher Premium price of $ 5 per month. And at the high-end, customers can get early access to ad-free interviews and episodes for $ 8 per month.

A survey is, of course, only to measure consumer demand for such a subscription, and does not indicate that Spotify has a new product in the works. (Spotify said this when asked to comment on the news.)

However, it is clear that investors also want to know what Spotify is thinking to re-implement their large investments in podcasts.

Asked if Spotify thought customers would be willing to pay for the podcast, one On earnings call Replied that he believed there were many new models that could be discovered.

“I think we’re in the early days of seeing the long-term evolution of how we can monetize audio on the Internet. I’ve said this before, but I don’t believe it’s a one-size-fits-all,” He said. “I believe that we will, in fact, have all the business models, and this is the future for all media companies – that you have ad-supported subscriptions and one-on-one of all media companies in the future There will be carte types. . “

“And you should definitely expect Spotify to follow that strategy and that pattern,” one said, more definitely.

The answer appears to be that Spotify is considering some ideas in that recent survey – to get consumers to pay for certain podcasts, rather than accessing them all for free or bundling them into their music subscriptions.

Of course, the term would change the meaning of “podcast”, which today refers to freely distributed, serialized audio programs that are distributed via RSS feeds.

If Spotify chooses to pay podcasts behind subscription or a la carte payments, they are no longer Really Podcasts – They are a new type of premium audio program.

This is an area where Spotify has a lot of room to grow, given the significant investment it has made in podcasts over the years. To date, it has included buying content producers such as Gillette Media, The Ringer and Parcast, as well as top creators such as Joe Rogan, Addison Rae, Kim Kardashian West, DC Comics, Michelle Obama and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex has gone. . Spotify also purchased anchors and other advertising technology and hosting services such as podcast equipment.

The advantage with podcasts is that Spotify has the ability to monetize them in multiple ways at once – with ads and subscriptions or direct payments, if it so chooses. And, of course, there are no license fees or royalties as with streaming music.

Spotify can also accommodate the podcast payment model because its various geographies and fit-to-the-world customers prefer to consume and pay for podcast content.

None of this thinking was about a near-term launch, one also clarified.

“I think it’s early days, though, especially to see how it can play out,” he said, talking about how different models could take shape. “But, obviously, if it were supposed to happen, this is how the revenue profile would be different from how we do music.”