Issue 247,  published February 27, 2020

Deep Support

Supercast, the direct monetization support platform for podcasters owned by Tiny, is announcing that it has raised $2 million in seed funding this morning. Its investors include Table Management, Form Capital, Christian Reber (the founder of Wunderlist), and Des Traynor (co-founder of Intercom), among others. Also announced is a new CEO: Jason Sew Hoy, who joins from the creative freelance platform 99designs, where he was Chief Growth Officer.

We’ve written about Supercast before, contextualizing it as part a growing cohort of companies building technology solutions for podcast publishers that hope to monetize its listeners more directly, whether it’s through a transactional premium subscription construct or a more support-oriented “I’m giving because I want you to live” arrangement. That cohort also includes Supporting Cast, Glow, Acast Access, and, of course, Patreon.

Direct support has become an increasingly prominent alternative to podcast advertising in the business models of podcast publishers, big and small, particularly as the general level of anxiety over the future of open podcasting continues to rise and as Spotify’s upcoming Streaming Ad Insertion play looms over the horizon.

Supercast’s own metrics may well reflect these dynamics, as I’m told that the number of subscribers being served by Supercast has more than doubled since we wrote about the company in October. But one should also factor in a recent pricing change. Supercast now charges publishers between $0.60 to $0.80 per month per month per subscriber based on features required, plus additional Stripe fees. That’s down from $1.50 per month per subscriber back in October, which struck us as pretty steep at the time.

Anyway, just because I was curious, I asked about the premium subscription rates that the company is seeing from podcasts that are using its platform; put another way, the proportion of those podcasts’ listenerships that end up producing direct revenue. Supercast claimed that the range was between 2-8%, depending on the incentives being offered and the type of audience that consume the podcast.

You can find more information about the fundraise, and Supercast’s future plans, in Jason Sew Hoy’s Medium post on the matter.

I run this thing.