Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend – Coming to Midroll and Earwolf

Conan O’Brien, former long-time host of “Late Night” and presenter of “The Tonight Show”, has a brand new podcast. It is coming to both Earwolf and Midroll on November 19, 2018. The podcast is called Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.

After 25 years at the Late Night desk, Conan realized that the only people at his holiday party are the men and women who work for him. Over the years and despite thousands of interviews, Conan has never made a real and lasting friendship with any of his celebrity guests. So, he started a podcast to do just that. Deeper, unboundedly playful, and free from FCC regulations, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is a weekly opportunity for Conan to hang out with the people he enjoys most and perhaps find some real friendships along the way.

The Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast is by Earwolf and Team Coco. Midroll is currently seeking those who would like Conan O’Brien to talk up their brand.

The starting line-up of guests on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend include: Will Ferrell, Kristen Bell, Bill Burr, Dax Shepard, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, Wanda Sykes, and Marc Maron.

The Paris Review has a Podcast

The Paris Review has it’s very own podcast, which will officially launch on November 8, 2017. If you visit The Paris Review’s website right now, you can listen to a short trailer episode titled “Coming soon: The Paris Review Podcast”.

The world’s most legendary literary magazine invites you on an audio odyssey through fiction, archival tape, interviews, and late nights with the likes of James Baldwin, Dorothy Parker, and the cutting edge writers of our time. Featuring readings from LeVar Burton, Stockard Channing, Jesse Eisenberg, Marc Maron, Eileen Myles, David Sedaris, Dick Cavett, Dakota Johnson, and more!

The Paris Review is a venerated literary magazine, which introduced the world to famous writers like Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth, and more. The Paris Review Podcast is a brand new Stitcher podcast, with ads available exclusively through Midroll.

The podcast is hosted by The Paris Review editor, Lorin Stein, and Brendan Francis Newman, who is known for his hosting duties of The Dinner Party Download. Midroll points out that The Paris Review has over 910,000 Twitter followers, and one million monthly pageviews. It is obviously popular, and, in my opinion, podcasts that originate from a source that already has a lot of popularity tend to attract a large audience.

StarTalk Playing With Science has Joined Midroll

Midroll announced that the StarTalk Playing with Science podcast has joined the Midroll roster for exclusive representation to advertisers. StarTalk Playing with Science originally debuted on the StarTalk podcast network.

StarTalk Playing with Science is hosted by comedian Chuck Nice and sportscaster and professional soccer player Gary O’Reilly. The podcast is described as “where geeks and jocks collide.” Each episode investigates one incredible moment in the history of sports, bringing together scientists, product designers, coaches, pundits and professional athletes to use science to shine a light on just what made it so great.

Episodes include an explanation of the technology that helped Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt become the fastest human ever, and the physics behind NBA player Steph Curry’s 40-foot-set-shot. Other upcoming guests include world-class athletes such as Lance Armstrong, Hope Solo, and Odell Beckham Jr.

StarTalk Playing with Science is produced in partnership with Midroll and Stitcher. The podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, and SoundCloud. Shows will be available to watch ad free on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku for subscribers to StarTalk All-Access.

Midroll Drops Latest Listener Survey Stats

PMidroll Logoodcasting production and advertising company Midroll has published the findings from its latest listener survey. “Podcasts By The Numbers,” as the survey data is called is described by Midroll as “the industry’s largest ongoing survey of podcast listeners.” The objective of the survey is to gather information on the audience consuming Midroll’s shows so the network can help its advertisers make informed choices about shows they choose to run ads on. The survey was conducted between June and October of 2015 and includes results from over 168,000 surveyed listeners.

Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • 22% of listeners have an annual household income of $100,000 or more.
  • Half of the listeners have a bachelor’s degree or higher education degree, 53% spend at least $132 a year on printed books and e-books.
  • 61% report buying a product or service they heard about on a podcast ad.
  • As the audience grows, it diversifies, looking more like the demographics of the United States as a whole.
  • 88% listen to most or all episodes of the podcasts they subscribe to.

Midroll typically only works with shows that have significantly large audiences. So, even tho the company was able to gather its survey results based on a large sampling, it’s still not necessarily representative of all podcast listeners. The two biggest takeaways that small or independent producers may want to focus on are the “61% report buying a product or service they heard about on a podcast ad” and “88% listen to most or all episodes of the podcasts they subscribe to” stats. The first one could be useful to anyone seeking sponsorships for their own shows and the second one shows that there really is value in a show’s back catalog, and that it’s important to make that easily available to subscribers.

The full survey report can be found here.

Off The Cuff Reactions to “The Netflix of Podcasting”

Howl logoMy (mostly) unedited reactions to a recent Fast Company article called Is Howl The ‘Netflix Of Podcasting’ We’ve Been Waiting For?

1.) No one’s been waiting for a “Netflix of Podcasting.” Any app with access to a directory of podcasts (in other words, pretty much all of them) is already a “Netflix of Podcasting.”

2.) People who are “generally into podcasts” already know how to listen to them. They already have easy access to whatever they want to listen to.

3.) No single platform can or will “blow up the audience for podcasts.” A platform that puts content that can easily be found for free behind a paywall seems even less likely to do this.

4.) Podcasts have been proliferating for twice as long as “five plus years.”

5.) “iTunes is an à la carte experience” that allows users to collect all of the podcasts they want in one location. But somehow it isn’t a “true one-stop, all-you-can-eat shop” for podcast consumption. True, some podcasts aren’t listed in the iTunes directory but they can still be manually added fairly easily to the application’s podcast aggregator.

6.) Howl is a product of Earwolf/Midroll and will contain all of the Earwolf shows along with “licensed” content like Marc Maron’s WTF. I’m unsure how a tightly curated list of shows will “build a model to advance the medium as a whole.”

7.) “$4.99 per month… at launch, Howl includes access to the full archives of every show on the network plus WTF and a large library of Comedy Central specials, behind-the-scenes photos from each episode, and host commentary and Twitter streams.” Adding premium content thru a paid subscription is a nice touch. It’s a process that more podcasters would use if it were easy to implement.

8.) “One limiting factor is that if you want to create a viable podcast, you really need to create a show that is long running, has a cost structure where the costs can stay relatively low and you can do 30-50 episodes per year, build up an audience, get ad sponsorships.” At least he didn’t say you could become rich overnight by starting a podcast. Granted, most shows probably won’t reach a point where they can get a Midroll sponsorship even if they publish 50 (or more) episodes in the first year.

9.) “We have documentaries that are a single episode of an hour and five minutes long, and there is only going to be a single episode… You could never afford to make an audio documentary that was just an hour long because you would never be able to monetize that with ads.” A good point here, when you’re creating content for the sole purpose of monetization. But, if Howl’s subscription revenue will help to fund things that are experimental in nature, that could be good. But then, if that content is only available to Howl subscribers, is it truly “advancing” the medium?

10.) “You still get people that just aren’t in the habit of listening to podcasts… They always say, ‘I’m late to the party…’ I think access is a big thing, and it’s really one of the few mediums where there’s a huge possibility for growth.” We’ve been saying this since 2005. But somehow, a closed platform with a relatively small catalog is going to bring podcasts to the masses?

Earwolf Podcast Network Merges With Midroll To Form New Company

Midroll LogoPopular podcast network Earwolf has merged with podcast advertising company Midroll to form a new entity, Midroll Media. From the Midroll blog:

“…Midroll Media, LLC, built from the merger of Earwolf Media, LLC, the pioneering comedy podcast network, and The Mid Roll podcast advertising network. The new company offers a 360-degree suite of production, distribution, and monetization services to artists, entertainers and thought leaders. Advertisers benefit from access to the talented hosts of more than 120 shows and their engaged audiences totaling more than 15 million downloads a month, using the industry’s first user-focused, self-service platform.”

The statement also notes that both Earwolf and Midroll have been successful, bootstrapped companies, and that the people behind both organizations believe podcasting is about to see a surge in growth, thanks to emerging technologies such as the connected car. More from the Midroll blog:

“Earwolf productions consistently rank amongst the top 20 podcasts in the iTunes chart, and are critical favorites. Rolling Stone recently named 4 Earwolf shows in its ’20 Best Comedy Podcasts Right Now’ feature, including ‘How Did This Get Made’ with actor/comedian Paul Scheer and ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!,’ Earwolf’s first podcast, hosted by company co-founder Scott Aukerman. ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!’ was turned into a popular IFC television series now in its third season.”

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