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Capitalising on Podcasts: The 2021 Trends

Capitalising on Podcasts: The 2021 Trends

Podcasts are our constant companions. Whether we are on our way to work, out for a walk, needing entertainment or inspiration: it is impossible to imagine our lives in 2021 without this audio medium. But what are the latest options for marketing and capitalising on podcasts?

Podcast Marketing with Sponsoring and Native Ads

In 2021 US advertisers will invest over USD 1.3 billion in podcast advertising. Also in Germany podcasts have always been a popular way for companies advertise. According to Statista, net advertising revenues in Germany amounted to around €16 million in 2020. According to the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) this is set to increase to €20 million in 2021.

Podcasters are the new premium influencers. The audience consciously chooses to listen to a show and therefore builds a special connection to the host. Hosts address the audience personally, thereby winning their full attention.

Native advertising is a popular format when it comes to podcast marketing. This involves a native advertising break within an podcast. The host speaks the advertising so it flows organically into the episode.

In addition to native ads, sponsorship is also popular. This is often a long-term partnership between a company and the podcaster. In this model, the sponsor is usually mentioned at the beginning and end of an episode.

Find out more about how podcast marketing works here.

Paid Podcasts: Subscriptions for Exclusive Content

The podcast market is more hotly contested than ever which means greater competition among content providers. According to the study "Podcasting Industry Perspectives" from strategy consultancy Altman Solon, the industry expects two billion regular listeners by 2023 and an advertising volume of around USD 4 billion.

Streaming platforms Apple and Spotify launched a major audio initiative this year to ensure that creators - and platforms - earn money from podcasts. From 2021, podcasters will be able to demand paid subscriptions for their content via the audio platforms. Listeners support their favourite shows and creators and receive exclusive and quality content without any advertising.

“Value for Value” Model to Cover Podcast Costs

Former MTV presenter Adam Curry also takes a critical view of reliance on the big audio streaming platforms.

Curry is considered a podcast pioneer, alongside Dave Winer. From 2004 to 2013 he published a daily audio blog called "Daily Source Code" and with it drove podcast creation into the future.

October 2007 saw the debut of his show "No Agenda” which he still hosts with American columnist John C. Dvorak. The show works according to the "value for value" model. Curry and Dvorak leave it up to their listeners to decide how much an episode is worth to them. To their surprise they found that consumers were willing to pay for it right from the start.

According to Curry, it is important that podcasting remains a platform for free expression. That's why, together with developer Dave Jones, he has also launched a new, open directory called the Podcast Index, which aims to "preserve, protect and extend the open, independent podcasting ecosystem". It aims to limit dependence on big companies like Spotify and Anchor.

Mission and goal: “To re-tool podcasting to a platform of value exchange that includes developers with podcasters and listeners.”

Particularly interesting is that Curry sees the paid podcast trend moving towards Bitcoin. The long-term goal of his new platform is to combine decentralised content with decentralised money. A "value for value" model with micropayment using the Lightning network. Listeners can make bitcoin transactions cheaply and almost in real time via this promising technology. This ensures continuous and secure streaming payment for consumers.  


Podcasts are becoming ever more popular. Competition among creators and also among major audio streaming platforms is growing strongly as a result. It is only natural therefore that new trends to capitalise on podcasts are coming to the fore. Such as the concept of subscription models that lure listeners with exclusive content. For a fixed monthly or annual fee, they can support the creators of their favourite shows.[Textflussumbruch]

The "value for value" model lets consumers decide for themselves what an episode is worth to them and how much they want to spend on it. The future of this model could be payment via micropayment and Bitcoin.

But even if the paid sector is growing, advertising-financed podcasts remain indispensable. A host recommendation in the podcast, either through a native ad or sponsorship, is seen as authentic and effective due to the host’s personal connection to their listeners.