Rebel Base Media CEO Mark Asquith

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This British Podcast guy is the founder and CEO of Rebel Base Media, the parent company of Captivate.fm, Poductivity, Podcast Websites and the Podcast Success Academy

PBJ: Summarize podcasting in 2019?
Mark Asquith: With the rise of more and more closed eco-systems promising to solve podcasters’ problems that aren’t typically “problems”, more just “desires for the industry – tech such as Patreon alternatives, monetization platforms and community outlets – 2019 fractured podcasting’s community sense to a level perhaps higher than it has ever been before – there is now so much more for a podcaster to think about and to decide upon and as such, I think podcasting’s 2019 can be summed up as having moved from moody, early teen years to questioning college student, trying to find its place in a changing world.

PBJ: What surprised you the most about 2019?
Mark Asquith: The thing that surprised me the most about 2019 is the amount of startups cropping up in the space now that a little VC money has flowed through the industry. It seems so many “solutions” exist purely to garner a potential exit later where the industry, in particular those people podcasting for a while now, are continually aware that this is happening and are becoming more and more questioning of choosing the solution stack for them.

PBJ: What disappointed you the most?
Mark Asquith: I don’t think anything in podcasting has disappointed me, as such – that’s a very strong term and the industry overall has grown and continues to mature.

That said, one mildly perturbing part of the industry is where we see traditional media outlets such as the BBC dominating podcasting’s leakage into the mainstream in, say, the UK and portraying that podcasting is just a form of radio that is on-demand rather than embracing the flexibility of the medium and really showcasing what it can do that other media can’t.

I also find it frustrating that the big outlets such as, say Spotify, introduce super features to help with podcast discoverability, such as curated playlists of new content, but continue to largely feature the “big” shows – it’s just getting boring now.

PBJ: Most over-used phrase or term in 2019 was….
Mark Asquith: Of course, “Netflix of Podcasting” but hey, we knew that!

PBJ: What three things do you expect to happen in 2020?
Mark Asquith: Since the inception of Apple’s new tags within RSS, I’ve been throwing out the idea that Apple will monetize the “bonus” episode type and I predict that we’ll see that from the Apple team in 2020.

I also expect smaller podcasters to push further into narrative, story-driven style shows with higher production values as they begin to see that to stand out and grow, it’s no longer as easy as running a Skype interview.

Lastly, I anticipate Apple’s team overhauling their brand position in podcasting. As is typical with Apple, they’re sitting back not through apathy or by accident, but to let the other people like Spotify figure out what consumers and creators respond to, assessing the landscape ready for a series of product updates, launches and creator tools being released.

PBJ: Did you notice some anger toward radio getting into the space?
Mark Asquith: As with my point about the BBC, et al, I see the education that radio brands pushing hard into the space brings to the mass populace as a positive – teaching people that the industry is available to them for content consumption.

But I understand why radio’s lack of innovation and perceived arrogance in determining that they’re the leaders in the space by default, purely based on their history with creating content into microphones, frustrates us all.

Creativity continues to drive this space and radio occupies a specific part of the industry, beginning to cause a really clear divide between podcasting as we see it and podcasting as radio sees it.

PBJ: Will subscription models survive the long haul?
Mark Asquith: Yes. Maybe not as we know them right now, but in some form, yes.

Remember, listener support via Patreon and other membership style platforms is a subscription, so I think we must be careful not to condemn “subscription models” by bundling premium-only content with those listener supported types of content.

As an industry, we have to be clear that actually, “subscription models” aren’t a bad thing but they need to be considered alongside the needs and behavior of the creators and listeners rather than assuming what works for TV and heck, even gaming, will work for audio.

PBJ: What will advertisers think of podcasts over the next 1-3 years?
Mark Asquith: If the numbers continue to stack up like they do now and brands see the value in the high engagement & recall levels of podcast advertising, they will continue to increase their annual spend in the space.

But, this comes as a double-edged sword in that the industry must innovate its metrics so that we can continue to prove not just what works now, but also that podcasting can develop its own measurements of advertiser success rather than, again, hanging on the coat tails of other media.

PBJ: Name 3 podcasts you would love to see breakout in 2020
Mark Asquith: Trivial Warfare by Jonathan Oakes, Your London Legacy by Steve Lazarus and SRVD Radio by Raf Jauregui – all innovative in their own way and serving a tight niche that matters to each and every listener.

Reach out to Mark be e-mail at mark@rebelbasemedia.io