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Along the Ray  

..musings on old-school-web livelihoods & creative pursuits

#podcasting Two guys and a $3 million podcast https://notes.alongtheray.com/two-guys-and-a-3-million-podcast They buck podcast norms with a three-to-four hour espisode just once a month focusing on one large corporation May-11-2024 11:50:32 -0400
May 11, 2024 updated May 11, 2024

Two guys and a $3 million podcast

The Smartest People in the Room Are All Listening to the Same Podcast (archive) by Wall Street Journal →

It’s a wonky podcast about business history and strategy with four-hour episodes that drop once a month. And people from Silicon Valley to Wall Street are completely obsessed with it.

The origin story of Acquired begins a decade ago when Gilbert, now 34, and Rosenthal, 39, met at a mutual friend’s Passover in Seattle and kept in touch. Over lunch in January 2015, Gilbert mentioned an idea for a podcast that would analyze one successful tech acquisition per episode, and Rosenthal offered to co-host the show they would call Acquired.

Acquired launched that year with an episode about Pixar. Like most new podcasts, it had no listeners. That first show lasted 37 minutes and got a few hundred downloads over the next six months. Today’s episodes average more than 500,000.

Their focus - very deep dives on large corporations:

How something started with nothing in obscurity and turned into the most important or valuable institution in our modern world,” Gilbert says. That’s a hell of a hook, and that’s our hook basically every time.”

A single episode requires hundreds of hours of research, which is why they release only 12 a year and present them like events.

The hosts refer to Acquired as the Hermès of podcasts,” which is a valuable brand to have. They now charge between $400,000 and $600,000 for four-episode sponsorships. (The current presenting sponsor is a unit of JPMorgan Chase.) It costs $40,000 a month just to advertise on the podcast’s archives,

Stunning. Good on em!

Most podcasts try to find an audience (like businesses seek customers) but these guys essentially made their own audience.

I mean who’d think there would be people out there willing to spend 4-5 hours listening to a podcast about seemingly boring corporations?

They did by going with it and thinking out of the box.

Better yet they only do it once a month, which beats having to do a show daily or weekly. They also need less material” by only focusing on twelve companies a year as source material.

They say they spend about 100 hours of research on each monthly episode so that’s around 25 hours a week. Not too shabby at all.

Their sponsorship model is unique — sponsorships are on a per season (four episodes) basis so it’s less work not needing to get new sponsors for each show.

Figuring their sponsorship revenue:

_attachments/acquired sponsorship screenshot.png

At three seasons a year that’s over $3 million annual gross revenue (note they already raised their prices for next next” season). And they’re basically working part time.

This doesn’t include a $40,000/monthly fee to advertise in their podcast archives and their speaking engagement fees of $100k-$225k a pop.

Holy moly.

In these kind of deep dives, subject matter… matters.

No one’s gonna want to listen to a four hour podcast on the news of the day.

Super specific niches, maybe. Like orchids for example? There’s tons of orchid lovers and a hundred million dollar industry. Coffee, perhaps? Wine?

Any others you can think of?

(h/t The Passive Voice)

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..musings on old-school-web livelihoods & creative pursuits

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