The Podcasting Crystal Ball – Matty Staudt

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Over the next several weeks PBJ will be grilling the experts. We’ll be asking them to summarize 2019 and give us their insights on what to expect in 2020. We start our special feature off with Matty Staudt, former Director of Content at Stitcher, VP of Podcast Programming at iHeart and now President of Jam Street Media.
PBJ: How would you summarize podcasting in 2019.
Matty Staudt: This year was an avalanche of folks entering the space and new content deals being signed. We’ve thought podcasting was mainstream in the past, but this year it totally became mainstream.
 
PBJ: What surprised you the most about 2019?
Matty Staudt: The number of movie and television personalities and executives who have entered the space.  It seems like every production house in LA has a new podcast division. I am also amazed at the amount of big money podcast deals that have gotten signed for folks with limited or no audio experience. 
 
PBJ: What three things do you expect to happen in 2020?
Matty Staudt: Even more, podcasts developed for cross-platform IP. More programmatic ads (boooo) More businesses creating their own podcasts to grow their brands and reach the ad skippers they can’t reach. (yeah) 
 
PBJ: There seems to be some anger toward radio getting into the space.
Matty Staudt: I
t’s always been the case, but I think with iHeart and Entercom buying podcasts companies you are seeing more of it.  Podcasting has been the little guy since I got into the space in 2007. Independent publishers worry that they will lose advertisers and listeners to the big guys entering and spending mad cash on content. I also personally remember when radio folks looked down their noses at podcasting and I think for some it’s hard to see companies go from that to claiming ownership of the space. 
 
PBJ: Isn’t it a good thing that more players – no matter where they come from – are joining the podcasting craze?
Matty Staudt: I know it’s a good thing. I saw while I was at iHeart the number of new podcast listeners we created with the podcasts we did with our radio talent.  Folks who would not have tried a podcast in the past. We are still at 26% penetration rate nationally as far as podcast listening goes and all the new players will just get more people to listen to podcasts and keep that number growing. Those companies are also bringing in advertisers who wouldn’t be in the space if not for them. 
 
PBJ: Will subscription models survive the long haul?
Matty Staudt: Yes, but, I think you will see more as far as independent publishers who have strong fan bases who will pay for extra content. We have seen this happen with a lot of ex-radio personalities and I think we will see it more with other media personalities. As far as the pay platforms like Luminary and Himalaya, I want to see them do well, but, I think they are launching at a time when folks feel like they are already paying for too many streaming platforms and adding one more for podcasts is a big ask. 
 
PBJ What will advertisers think of podcasts over the next 1-3 years?
Matty Staudt: They will learn what we know. You get more bang for your buck, better quality reach, and amazing metrics when you do podcast advertising. I think when they figure out the ROI they get in just metrics alone you will see more of them flocking to podcasting instead of or in addition to traditional media. 

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