Another method used to generate revenue is the creation of a premium feed, where each subscriber has to pay a certain amount to have access to your show. Think of this as pay-per-view for podcasting. The way this works best is for you to have a free feed that you use to create a large audience base and then you either transition over to a premium feed completely or create a second feed that is the premium feed. In February of 2006, Ricky Gervais announced that he would be switching over to a premium feed hosted through Audible.com, which allows the podcaster to create a premium feed using a service called Wordcast Pro (see Figure 18.11). We talked with John Federico from Audible.com about its services.
Figure 18.11. Wordcast Pro from Audible.com.
The pricing for Audible's Wordcast Pro starts with a one-time activation fee of $50. Then there is a $0.02-per-download cost, and you also have a 20% transaction fee for paid content. So if you offered your podcast at $0.10 per show, Audible would get $0.02 for the transaction fee and $0.02 for the download, leaving you with $0.06, or $60 per 1,000. If your podcast has a large and very loyal following, maybe you could get $0.50 per show. In this case, Audible would get $0.12 and you would get $0.38, or $380 per 1,000 downloads net. (This is roughly what Ricky Gervais is charging if you get the whole series. On a per-show basis, he is asking for $1.95.) For podcasters looking to sell their shows on a premium basis (where the subscriber pays to play) Audible offers the best overall solution.
However, for most indie podcasters looking for a service to add advertising (aggregate an audience and sell the media value), Audible may not make much sense. Its download cost is $0.02 per download or a $20 CPM. If you received $40 for the CPM, half would go to Audible. And if you used its ad-insertion system, another $3.33 per thousand would also go to Audible. You would need to get at least a CPM of $90 from an advertiser to make Audible an equal value to many of the advertising networks mentioned previously in this chapter. However, if you have a niche show and you find that you can get a CPM of over $100, then Audible is a great solution. But if you are in the long tail of podcasting, you will find it very difficult to get a CPM above $50.
Another interesting service from Audible is the ability to provide a preapproved list of subscribers. Let's say you have a membership program, where for some amount per year your members get access to your site and private members-only content, and now you want to add access to your members-only podcast. Rather than Audible forcing your members to go through another transaction to access your podcast, you can send in a list of email addresses to Audible and have those members preapproved to subscribe to that podcast. You can have a private podcast only available to the members you supply to Audible. This could be used by a corporation that wants to make training podcasts available to an external sales/rep force, as an example.
Audible pricing comes from its website as of March 2006. Be sure to check http://wordcast.audible.com for its current pricing as this may have changed.