Podcasters test offering more bonus content and additional features to grow subscriptions

August 31, 2022

By Sara Guaglione

After launching subscription podcast services last year, QCode, Tenderfoot TV, NPR and Acast are investing in their offerings by adding more shows and experimenting with the way bonus content can serve superfans, add value to the paid product and provide complementary, recurring revenue.

The number of podcasters offering a paid product is growing — as is the number willing to subscribe. Since June 2021, the number of Apple Podcast subscribers increased by more than 300%, and over 25% of the top 100 shows in Apple’s “Top Shows” chart offer a subscription, a spokesperson said, though they did not provide exact figures. In addition to bonus content, podcast subscriptions usually offer ad-free listening and early access to content.

Bonus content around specific shows

QCode, known for its scripted fiction podcasts, moved into the unscripted podcast space earlier this month, with five shows added to its network. The company now has over 25 shows, with 30 more in development, said QCode chief strategy officer Steve Wilson. A few more will go live in the next couple of weeks, he said.

QCode is no. 14 in Apple Podcast’s “Top Subscriber Channel” chart, which launched earlier this month. Wilson declined to share the number of QCode+ subscribers.

QCode is experimenting with subscriptions around specific, unscripted chat shows, Wilson said. While all of QCode’s scripted fiction shows are available under a channel subscription on Apple Podcasts, the company plans to introduce individual show-level subscriptions “tailored to the benefits of that specific audience and what they’re looking for and getting more from those always-on shows,” Wilson said.

“Different kinds of content is what we think will really win in subscriptions to give fans more,” he added.

For example, QCode’s recently-added show “Tooth and Claw” about real wild animal attacks has the “Griz Club” for $9.99 a month, which provides subscribers with bonus episodes, access to a server on the group-chatting platform Discord and early access to merch — a subscription model with additional benefits that could be replicated for other QCode shows.

“We’re candidly still figuring out exactly what the benefits, pricing and timing of subscriptions will be but we think they can be really bespoke to each show,” Wilson said. “Then we can have a blended model between advertising and subscriptions to really support these projects.”

Similarly to QCode, true crime media company Tenderfoot is offering bonus content to its Tenderfoot+ “on a show by show basis, and really trying to think about what works for this particular show,” said Tracy Kaplan, head of operations & partnerships at Tenderfoot. Both QCode+ and Tenderfoot+ have their subscriptions on Apple Podcasts. QCode+ costs $3.99 a month or $28.99, while Tenderfoot+ costs $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year.

Four shows were added to Tenderfoot+ this month, including the company’s first weekly true crime show. Over 200 episodes are available on Tenderfoot+, Kaplan said. She declined to share the number of Tenderfoot+ subscribers.

Wondery+, the top subscriber channel in Apple Podcast’s chart, is experimenting with early access to content, windowing and exclusivity …read more

Source:: Digiday


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