Podcasting’s Crystal Ball – Steve Goldstein

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Steve Goldstein jumped into the podcasting pool early. He saw the writing on the wall and left radio (after a very successful career) to launch Amplifi Media to focus on an industry he saw exploding. Today Steve is considered to be one of the top dogs in the podcasting space. Let’s see what he has to say…

PBJ: How would you summarize podcasting in 2019?
Steve Goldstein: Nothing short of explosive. We have hit an inflection point in which awareness has moved beyond “what’s a podcast?” and there is a cool factor which is hard to engineer.

PBJ: What surprised you the most about 2019?
Steve Goldstein: Not so much surprised, but the velocity at which this has shifted to a business of acquisitions and aggregation by big players is head spinning.

PBJ: What disappointed you the most?
Steve Goldstein: Expectations are high, and frankly most podcasts won’t find a meaningful audience. Actually, that feels more like the 2020 list.

PBJ: Most over-used phrase or term in 2019 was….
Steve Goldstein: “I am starting a podcast”

PBJ: What three things do you expect to happen in 2020?
Steve Goldstein: Many titles will go out of production because they didn’t find an audience. Programmatic will become a key opportunity for those podcasters not in the top 1%. Promotional alliances and megaphones will become even more critical.

PBJ: There seems to be some anger toward radio getting into the space. 1) Do you believe that to be the case? 2) If yes, why is that? Isn’t it a good thing that more players — no matter where they come from — are joining the podcasting craze?
Steve Goldstein: Who is angry? Older podcast purists? Heck, movie companies, agencies, banks, sports franchises, supermarkets, space agencies are all in. Why wouldn’t radio? Radio companies produce great audio content. Not all of it works in on-demand form, but “radio companies” out of necessity will have to follow the audience and thus migrate into “audio companies” following a similar track on the TV side.

PBJ: Will subscription models survive the long haul?
Steve Goldstein: No. Not now. Tough enough to begin with but with OTT networks like Disney, Hulu, HBO and others wanting your Mastercard card, the consumer is already overwhelmed. And there is an abundance of great advertisers-supported (free) content.

PBJ: What will advertisers think of podcasts over the next 1-3 years?
Steve Goldstein: It is a remarkable targeted medium. As the metrics improve, advertisers will become more comfortable with the targeting and the efficiency. That’s harder than ever to find in the advertising environment and the median age of 35 is dream compared to legacy media choices.

PBJ: Name three podcasts you would love to see break out in 2020.
Steve Goldstein: We do work with various clients on fresh initiatives. For example, Ramsey Solutions rolled out its first mini-series on the college debt crisis. This is a perfect deep dive and aligned with the Ramsey brand. More strategic content initiatives make sense to me.

Steve Goldstein is CEO of Amplifi Media, an advisor in strategy and content development for media companies and podcasters. He an be reached at 203-221-1400 or sjgoldstein@amplifimedia.com. Twitter: @sgoldstein.

Coming Monday: Emily Prokop
More from our series with:
Steve Stewart
Evo Terra
Matty Staudt
Robin Kinnie

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