They're prohibitively expensive and very difficult to monetize effectively.
I only listen to narrative podcasts so I decided to launched my own narrative/documentary-style podcast. It's DIY so we're nowhere near the budgets mentioned above, instead of the typical conversation-based ones.
People like it (for what feedback is worth) and because it was different I managed to get a small sponsorship deal but I must agree the juice simply isn’t worth the squeeze.
Compared to conversation podcasts the difficulty level went from 1 to 10, whereas the traction went from 1 to 1.5. BUT it's different with video because the discovery process is different.
Hi Simon, good take as always, but let me push back on two aspects I think you haven't mentioned. I agree with you that unscripted shows are the way to go for most publishers, especially smaller or medium-sized. But let's not forget public service media that doesn't need make money and in fact most of them have innovation and new format creation in their mission. In other words, if a news organisation can keep producing and experimenting with storytelling podcasts without a financial ROI, it's the public media. I would love to see them creating grants and attracting outside talent to create narrative podcasts. Also, fiction podcasts which I would put into the narrative storytelling category might be for the right media a good investment as they live for ever and if the organisation can work nicely with evergreen content, it's a nice longtail investment. Plus, let's not forget that podcasting talent wants to develop narrative podcasts (I haven't met a podcaster in news that doesn't have that ambition), so another aspect of why a news org or media org will develop a narrative podcast would be to keep and challenge their talent.
This was great, thank you