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Midroll’s 2017 Revenues

Plus: The Daily as "blueprint," and the genius of The Ringer's podcast network

Hey y’all!

Going to keep things short this issue — I’ve been running around New York this week for meetings and some events, and as such, I haven’t been able to sit down and crank out an additional analysis that builds on the newsletter this week.

Though, given the issue’s headline focus on Molly Schwartz and co’s efforts in podcast preservation and archiving, I’m not sure I have very much to add other than to say: that kind of stuff is really important in ways that you know and ways that you don’t. One way in particular that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is how people five, ten years from now are going to look back at this moment, and depending on how things work out, might invest some effort in creating various different histories of different parts of the podcast ecosystem in the way that it exists right now. And that’s going to be hard to dig up if things go a certain way in the absence of good archives. Just a thought.

Which reminds me: It’s come to my attention that the Hot Pod News website has been encountering some issues with stability, and that the platform I’ve been using to manage membership doesn’t seem to be working the way it should — which, ironically, means that the archives for members newsletter is spotty in terms of accessibility. I’m looking into it, and will get it fixed. I just find it hilarious this would happen the week I write about good preservation practices. Oy.

Midroll 2017 Revenues. That EW Scripps has broken out Midroll’s financials for the first time in their annual report. The relevant 10-K can found here. You can search around detail, but here’s the big takeaway: Midroll’s net revenue in 2017 was around $18.2 million, up from $14 million the year before. Just a reminder that Midroll was acquired for $50 million in the summer of 2015.

Shouts to the tipster who pointed me to this recently.

In case you missed it. The New York Times is making a TV show. Which doesn’t sound like anything directly related to our interests, except that in the write-up by CNN’s Brian Stelter, considerable emphasis was placed on how the organization’s experience with developing a successful audio team directly informs the way they’re approaching the TV project.

“We think that’s a blueprint for much of the work to come,” said Sam Dolnick, the Times’ the assistant managing editor and a strong advocate for the audio initiative, referring to the manner in which they develop the audio team.

Sidebar. Look, I stan for the Longform podcast. I’m not ashamed to say it. I daresay I’m the foremost fucking Longform scholar in these United States. Also, I stan for The Ringer’s podcast network, which I will forever believe is an utterly smart and successful way of properly integrating an audio operation with a fast-slinging, breezy digital media website in the 2018. So, when I learned that The Ringer’s editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey was Longform’s latest interview, you bet I’m shoving that thing down my earholes right quick.

It’s great. Even greater: the discussion of how the podcast operation fits into the business and the general philosophy behind experimenting for the channel, which starts at around the 49:00 mark. “From a financial perspective, the podcast network is a very helpful… is a huge part of the business, no doubt, but it’s not incumbent upon people who are hired to be writers to be podcasters.”

Some stories I’m tracking:

  • Gimlet releases Chompers, an Alexa skill for kids. (WSJ)
  • iHeartMedia Preparing Bankruptcy Filing. (WSJ)
  • Atlantic Records Is Launching Its Own Podcasts, Starting Today. (Variety)