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Slate Plus Conversion Numbers

The Slow Burn effect, baby.

A new report from Digital Content Next and the Lenfest Institute, on reader revenue, yields a mighty interesting data point for those tracking Slate, Slow Burn, and the Slate Plus membership program: “The free version of Slow Burn generated 1.5 million downloads per episode, and the podcast as a whole drove 6,000 memberships in 2018.”

When I checked in on Slate’s podcast operations at the top of 2018 — before the departures of Julia Turner, Leon Neyfakh, and Steve Lickteig — here’s what I was told on the conversion stuff:

Even though the core Slow Burn experience is available for free as a weekly podcast, a Slate Plus membership gives Burn-heads access to bonus episodes and other additional material. The carrot was apparently effective. “We’re seeing conversion at an extraordinary rate,” [then EIC Julia] Turner said, noting that the Slow Burn campaign yielded 2.5× to 3× the daily conversion rates of an average day. “We’re seeing a ton of overlap between audio audiences and Slate Plus,” she adds.

Feels good to close the loop on that one.