Author: Glen Fleishman
Pump up the volume: Podcast apps keep pushing toward the money
By many measures, Castro might seem modest. The company that makes the freemium podcast-listening app doesn’t disclose usage numbers, stating only that it’s among the top 10 podcast apps for iOS—a market segment dominated by Apple’s bundled Podcasts, which overshadows everything else. Castro might have as many as the low hundreds of thousands of users, the vast majority paying nothing.
But Castro has ambitions. While the podcast industry raked in over $300 million in ads in 2017, that number is estimated at $400 million for 2018, and is expected to cross $600 million by 2020, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. That’s a tiny sum relative to newspaper and radio ad sales, which are around $17 billion each. Still, it’s up from nearly nothing in just a few years.
Counting advertising alone misses an important and growing part of podcast revenue, however. Other forms of income come from paid content that’s either charged as a premium or included as part of a subscription. This money is collected by companies as varied as Audible, Spotify, and Stitcher. They don’t disclose details about the income they receive that is solely attributable to selling podcast content, but some observers believe it could reach billions in a few years, based on rapidly growing demand.