|Cadence13 launches new podcast studio. Cadence13 and Endeavor Content have signed a partnership to create a new podcast studio called C13Features. The aim of the venture, they say, is to bring a “traditional Hollywood blockbuster movie creative approach to construct audio features at scale” — that’s according to the press release written up at Variety. The output will be “feature-length stories of all genres” — fiction, I’m inferring — that have “a beginning, a middle and end, all wrapped into one podcast episode, similar to a movie arc”. The studio will make use of Hollywood writing, acting and directing talent, and each 90-120 minute episode will standalone, although there is the potential to organise them into “franchises”.
The catchy name for this format proposition is “movies for your ears”. I have to say, I’m personally sceptical about whether people want a movie-style experience from their podcasts, and I’m sure plenty in the audio drama world are going to be raising eyebrows at the framing of this. However, I can see two very clear motivations for why this project, at this moment.
The first is obvious: coronavirus has shut down Hollywood in a pretty drastic way. Shows and films aren’t going to be able to shoot at pre pandemic rates for a while still, cinemas are closed or operating at an extremely limited capacity, and as a result the whole pipeline is backed up and there’s a lot of underemployed talent floating around. Podcasts, however, can be produced quickly, cheaply and safely, and we now have a reasonable body of evidence that suggests people still listen to them even if they’re not commuting. There’s a suggestion in the Variety piece that this podcast studio will be looking to scoop up unproduced scripts originally destined for the screen as well as working with original material, and I think that kind of says it all, really.
The second justification is one we’re all really familiar with, so I don’t need to bust it out in detail again: the podcast to TV IP pipeline, of course. Hollywood will eventually get going again, and there will be studios very interested in buying concepts that have already been cheaply tested with the audience in audio drama form. If they already have talent associations and franchise potential, all the better. It still strikes me as strange that this is a podcast venture closely mimicking and borrowing from the film and TV industry that is partly aimed at selling stuff back to the film and TV industry but… stranger things have happened. And speaking of, Cadence13’s Chris Corcoran said that the Netflix show Stranger Things is an example of something he thinks would work really well in this audio format. So, there’s that.