Jack Rhysider is the creator of the podcast Darknet Diaries, a very detailed scripted podcast about hackers, breaches, APTs, hacktivism, cybercrime, and all the things that dwell on the hidden parts of the network.
PBJ: Are you having fun?
Jack Rhysider: When you do something creative and people really appreciate it, it gives you a high unlike anything else. I’m having a blast.
PBJ: How would you summarize podcasting in 2019?
Jack Rhysider: 2019 saw an enormous amount of growth. New podcasts were rolling out on an hourly basis. A lot of new startups tried to solve podcast problems. Many companies and celebrities started making podcasts. I expect this rapid growth will continue for a few years. It’s been great to ride this wave but it’s still a great time to jump in and ride it.
PBJ: What surprised you the most about 2019?
Jack Rhysider: I’m surprised that so many popular podcasts have trouble monetizing properly. In the last season of Startup podcast even Gimlet didn’t monetize properly and never thought to monetize their back catalog. This is mind boggling to me because it’s such a basic idea yet such a big company didn’t think of it for years and years. And places like Radiotopia which gets 19 million downloads a month still holds a fundraiser to keep the show going. One ad running 19 million times should easily raise them enough money. So something is super strange here. Seeing this just means a ton of people are having a hard time figuring out monetization, and end up taking weird and strange deals from venture capitalists and subscription based companies to pay for their show.
PBJ: What disappointed you the most?
Jack Rhysider: I’m disappointed by companies that are fracturing podcasting. Such as Spotify not using traditional RSS feeds to serve their listeners. Luminary requiring listeners to use their app to listen to their shows. Some of my listeners have numerous podcast apps so they can listen to all their shows. This is splitting podcasts into pieces and the wrong direction. It creates enormous complexity for podcasters to figure out the nuances of multiple podcast apps so all the apps play their show properly. It also gives the listeners a poor experience when they have to hunt through multiple apps to find a show that only exists on one platform.
PBJ: Most over-used phrase or term in 2019 was….
Jack Rhysider: Netflix of podcasts.
PBJ: What three things do you expect to happen in 2020?
Jack Rhysider: I think we’ll continue to see enormous growth in new listeners, new shows, and companies entering the space. I think we’ll either see Apple Podcasts innovate or they’ll start to see some serious competition in 2020. I think we’ll continue to see popular podcasts get snatched up with 7 figure exclusive deals.
PBJ: Will subscription models survive the long haul?
Jack Rhysider: Sure subscription models have their place. But are there better models that are better for both the listener and creator? Yes for sure. If you have an audience of 20,000 downloads per episode or more, there are a lot of ways to monetize a show to keep it going.
PBJ: What will advertisers think of podcasts over the next 1-3 years?
Jack Rhysider: As the podcast industry matures more advertisers will join in and the cost per ad will go up. Radio/TV/magazine are the mature mediums here with much higher ad rates people everyone understands these ads. Podcast advertisers are still early adopters but at some point it will be noticed by the majority and with that a huge wave of new advertisers will enter the space.
PBJ: Name 3 podcasts you would love to see breakout in 2020
Jack Rhysider: Dexter Guff, The Orbiting Human Circus, Have you Heard George’s podcast. These are all fantastic but are lesser known and deserve a huge audience.
More from our series with:
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Daniel J. Lews