New Podcast Data From Acast Founders Reveal Appetite For Alternative Media Monetisation

Sesamy, the Stockholm-headquartered platform for monetising digital content from the founders of Acast, reveals new data findings from its initial partnerships in the podcasting industry across Sweden, the UK, and Italy.

Podcasts are now a major part of the media landscape. Whereas traditional media outlets may have, in the past, considered a podcast as an addition to supplement more traditional content types, the skyrocketing popularity of podcasts has necessitated that publishers take them more seriously, and direct more efforts into creating a high-quality podcast offering.

Following the industry-changing innovations like Acast and Spotify growing out of the region, the Nordics are now seeing experimentation in how digital content is monetised, especially in light of dwindling ad revenues and consumers facing ‘subscription fatigue.’

Partnership with Kvartal: partially locked podcast episodes driving subscriptions

Sesamy has partnered with leading Swedish independent media publication, Kvartal, to transform the magazine’s podcast model. Kvartal’s existing podcasts continue to be free to access, but the change was implemented by making a segment of certain podcast episodes available to subscribers only. This adaptation of the model of the model led to a jump in subscribers, proving that a publications’ podcast listeners are potential digital subscribers.

Non-subscribers, when reaching the locked part of the episode, are directed to a dedicated page offering them a subscription. Kvartal data reveals that 15.8% of new subscribers came through this gateway over just five weeks at the beginning of 2024, proving the significance of podcasts as a funnel for gaining new subscribers. This compares to a conversion rate of only 6.8% via podcasts previously (October 2022 – December 2023).

Ludde Hellberg, CEO of Kvartal comments, “We have strong reason to believe that our premium podcasts are a far bigger driver of conversation to subscription than even these numbers indicate.

With regards to retention, practically all our paying subscribers become active and continuous listeners to our premium podcast feed, that is only available to subscribers, and that we’ve created in collaboration with Sesamy.”

Data findings from alternative podcast monetisation models:

* Beyond its partnership with Kvartal, Sesamy’s collaborations across Sweden, the UK, and Italy show that there are more options than simply relying on ad funding, or completely locking a podcast behind a paywall.

* Data collected over 30 podcast shows utilizing Seamsy, over a period of 8 months, reveals that:

* The average rate for paid single podcast episode purchasers to convert to subscribers is 10.1%

* Interestingly the conversion rate is higher for female-hosted podcasts (12.8%) compared to male-hosted podcasts (8.1%)

* 85% of subscribers choose to pay for an entire season in a single transaction in advance; the remaining 15% choose to pay for an entire season by monthly installments

* The median preferred payment methods are: Swish (Venmo) 69%; Apple Pay, Google Pay, credit card payment 31%

* Early morning is the best time of day to release a podcast episode.

The data shows the benefits of diversifying podcast monetisation, rather than relying on the outdated ad-funded model which does not adequately renmunerate podcasters, as it is reliant on receiving thousands of listens in order to gain profit. Sesamy’s technology allows consumers a single-purchase option, should they wish to access ‘special’ paywalled episodes, as well as option to buy ‘bundles’ of episodes, or – when it is best value for money for them – subscriptions.