Our Crystal Ball Series With Troy Price

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Troy Price is the co-founder of Front Porch Studios in Berea, Kentucky. He’s been involved in podcasting for over a decade and he writes a regular weekly column for The Podcast Business Journal. Here are Troy’s thoughts on the industry.

PBJ: How would you summarize podcasting in 2019?
Troy: The world of Podcasting in 2019 was in a word, ‘Meh.’ Here are a few tangibles that took place over the year.
Listenership steadily increased.
Some new podcasts were launched.
Some business were created around podcast production, distribution, and monetization.
A small group of people made a good deal of money from the promise of podcasting.
Those metrics were similar to years past. There was nothing that had an industry-wide impact in 2019.

PBJ: What surprised you the most about 2019?
Troy: My biggest surprise of 2019 was seeing the number of “He’s” that went to She Podcasts. The dudes were outnumbered that weekend in Atlanta but, according to social media, there were a good number of them presenting, exhibiting, and attending the conference.

PBJ: What disappointed you the most?
Troy: I was disappointed that no one brought a single-use podcast player to the market in 2019. One way to bring new listeners into the podcasting space is to make listening easier for more people. Having a podcast app on every phone is great, but some people find the current process of searching and subscribing too complicated to be bothered with. I was sure a branded podcast-only smart speaker or other device would have made a splash in 2019 and welcome more into the fold. It didn’t – that’s another reason 2019 was ‘Meh’ for me.

PBJ: What three things do you expect to happen in 2020?
Troy:
1) I expect a single-use podcast player is introduced.
2) I expect Apple to address podcasting in a big way in September. Not with the much needed single-use podcast player, but to introduce a new seamless infrastructure that supports the whole spectrum of the podcasting workflow. This will make the promised impact of companies like Anchor, Spotify, and the many advertising companies obsolete.
3) A downside of all the attention that podcasting is getting is that our podcast media hosts will become a target of international ransomware bandits. In 2019 one of the bigger media hosts will be successfully attacked. The only tangible results of such an attack would be at best a few hours of delayed downloads (while backups are deployed and a few DNS’s are redirected), there might be a mainstream news story, and a few memes and shirts would be created about ‘The Great Podcast Crash of 2020’

PBJ: There seems to be some anger toward radio getting into the space. Why is that?
Troy: The anger that is present about radio getting into the podcasting is real but misguided. The people entering the podcasting space with a radio company’s backing only have the same advantages that a celebrity does when they start a podcast. They both start with an existing audience and access to good equipment. That doesn’t take away from what I have to say with my show and the connection I share with the people that want to listen to me. There are enough ears to go around.

PBJ: Will subscription models survive the long haul?
Troy: I believe paid subscription models will be what keeps independent podcasters in the podcasting space for the long haul. A podcaster with a modest following can make a good amount of money from their audience with a paid subscription podcast. The same podcaster would make only tens of dollars per month with any other monetization strategy. All things being equal, I think a podcaster would more likely continue a show that is emotionally rewarding and making money much longer than a show that is emotionally rewarding but not lucrative.

PBJ: What will advertisers think of podcasts over the next 1-3 years?
Troy: There is money to be made with advertising on podcasts so advertisers will more and more enter the space. Here is an example of what will happen over time. The media hosts that have been in the podcasting space since the beginning are very similar. They offer a few features that vary from company to company, but all generally provide the same service at about the same cost. Similarly, the longer advertisers are in the podcasting space, they will become more uniform in what they offer. Metrics and rates will stabilize in the next 3 years and advertising will be easier for those that have a show that is right for advertising.

PBJ: Name 3 podcasts you would love to see breakout in 2020

With the US Presidential election set to take place in 2020. I hope the WNYC-to-Podcast show Reveal (https://www.wnyc.org/shows/reveal) becomes a breakout podcast to teach media literacy to the US electorate. Geez we need it.

In 2020 (with no known connection to the fact above) there are a good number of asteroids with opportunities to strike the earth. With this in mind I hope the This Week at NASA podcast (https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/twan_index.html) becomes water cooler talk.

Also, I think the world would be a better place if The Living Homegrown podcast (https://livinghomegrown.com/) became a breakout hit (even if we didn’t get hit by an asteroid).

Reach out to Troy by e-mail at troy@frontporchstudios.com

More from our series with:
Steve Stewart
Evo Terra
Matty Staudt
Robin Kinnie
Steve Goldstein
Emily Prokop
Rob Greenlee
Jessica Kupferman
Traci Long DeForge
Daniel J. Lews
Mark Asquith
Mathew Passy
Jack Rhysider
Matt Cundill
Jay Soderberg
Bruce Wawrzyniak
Kelli Hurley