The business of how podcasts make money is relatively opaque. Lots of podcasts never make a dime. Plenty support marketing efforts at small businesses and large corporations. Still others maintain complete editorial independence by utilizing crowdfunding. And that doesn’t even account for the large networks pooling audiences for ad buys, the book deals podcasters receive, or merch sales. Laura Mayer’s new podcast touches on those subjects. But her focus is instead the acquisition.
Shameless Acquisition Target sounds like Gimlet’s Startup, in its very earliest days, meets Jamie Loftus’s Ghost Church. The show explores how podcasts get acquired: picked up by major media companies, licensed for wider distribution as TV shows or movies, or bought by a company looking to jumpstart their audio marketing.
With this in mind, Laura Mayer, the host and producer, brings a deep well of experience to her investigation of the business of podcasting. She produced major shows like Revisionist History, Bad Blood, The Dream, and Happier with Gretchen Rubin. These shows and others went on to make big money for their production company, studio, or creators. But, as Laura makes clear in the first episode of the show, her big payday has eluded her.
Shameless Acquisition Target is a transparent attempt to rectify that. To put it another way, Mayer is selling the show. Not only does she investigate how big money podcasts make their, well, big money, she pitches her own show and experience throughout with tongue-in-cheek ad spots and shameless self-promotion. She’s funny in a dry, geriatric Millennial way. And her storytelling chops are top-notch.
It’s so rare to get the inside scope on how podcasts make money so Shameless Acquisition Target is a treat—and a pleasure to listen to. If you’ve ever wondered about the business of podcasting beyond basic sponsorship deals, this show is well worth your time.