No coding necessary — for your free audiobook download

I’ve just started listening to the podcast Criminal, having heard about it when it joined the Radiotopia collective. It’s good, you’d like it, especially if you’re jonesing for Serial. But that’s not what I’m talking about right now.

I’ve listened through the first couple of episodes, when the show was boxfresh, and the latest one, after it joined Radiotopia, and whilst the programme itself hasn’t changed there’s one big thing that’s new: the ads.

The arrival of the ads underlined something that’s been bothering me about podcasts, and that’s the advertising: the same few companies on every show, the same messages over and over again. Unless I’ve missed something, podcast people skew a little techier than most, and they tend to listen to multiple shows. Are these ads really for them?

I’m worried about podcasting at the glossier end: how many more Mail Kimp ads can these shows sustain, really? Are their listeners turned on by building a Square Space website with absolutely no coding necessary or are they hip enough to the web to have sorted out their own website already? And if those listeners are going to get a free audiobook download from Audible wouldn’t they have done it by now?

These ads seem played out, and they seem out of step with the market. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m thinking of starting a podcast where I’ll find out. It’ll be called The Unsustainable Podcast. Each week we’ll take apart one of the companies that are sponsoring top tier podcasts and critique every aspect of their offer as well as the ads that they run.

If you want to sponsor it let me know.

By Jon Hickman

Hi, I'm Jon. I teach and research digital culture, social media and new media practice at Birmingham City University. Find out more about me with this lovely CV: Find out about my work at the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research: