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Podcasters Are Testing Whether Fewer Feeds Will Deliver More Listeners.


“Fish where the fish are” is the advice long given to media sales reps. Now some content producers are doing just that, as a growing number of content producers are capitalizing on the feeds of successful podcasts to drop episodes of new series in order to give them a bounce in what remains a crowded field of shows.


Wondery has reportedly become the latest to test the technique. It tells Digiday that while previous seasons of its hit Dr. Death each got their own podcast feed, the new season called “Bad Magic” will not when it rolls out next month. Head of Marketing Blad Norman tells Digiday that they earlier tested the distribution technique with the Over My Dead Body podcast. “When we don’t have fragmented brand feeds,” he said, “we’re able to drive them into one place, we’re seeing that consumers are spending more time with [our shows].”


It is a distribution move that has been gaining traction, with NPR moving over the summer to consolidate their show feeds. Digiday says Paramount Audio has also been moving more in that direction, as it has added more related content to the podcast feeds of its “48 Hours” and “The Daily Show” television series.


Under the “48 Hours” banner, Paramount now releases the true crime Post Mortem from 48 Hours plus archive shows. It has worked so far as more than 85% of 48 Hours podcast listeners downloaded the first Post Mortem episode when it dropped last month.


“The concept behind 48 Hours Post Mortem was that of both feed extension and feed growth, the idea that with an already successful podcast feed – the system that delivers episodes of a podcast to listeners – there is an opportunity to grow and nurture an established fan base and associated franchise,” said Executive VP of Podcasting Steve Raizes. However, in a LinkedIn post he says there is a risk of turning off a fanbase if they are overloaded with content different than the shows they are following. “We are highly sensitive as to the content that we put into that feed. The goal is to find a high Venn diagram overlap between listeners of current content and the new content which leads to a high retention and overall growth,” he says.


Overall, Paramount said downloads for the 48 Hours podcasts have doubled between 2021 and 2022. And so far in 2023 downloads are outpacing the previous year and are on track to record year-over-year growth.


Sony Music Entertainment releases a dozen true crime shows across five feeds, which Executive VP Steve Ackerman says helps shuffle listeners from one show to the next and from one limited-run series to the next. He tells Digiday that Sony has seen those new shows wind up with downloads that are comparable to the flagship show in which its episodes share a feed.

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