Pub, subscription or “tip”? The monetization of podcasts is gaining ground in France

(AFP) – Is monetization the future of podcasting? While in the United States several platforms have taken the plunge, things are accelerating in France where the craze for this new medium does not weaken, signaling the end of all free.

Monetization? “We have thought about it a lot and we think that it could be put in place by the end of the year 2021 or the beginning of 2022”, announced in mid-September to AFP the director of the studios of Spotify in France and in the Benelux, Claire Hazan.

Concretely, the creators of podcasts, broadcast so far for free on the Swedish platform, will be able to: offer a paid subscription – which will be added to the subscription to the platform – or resort to advertising.

A model that the platform, the world leader in music streaming, has already set up in the United States, where it has undertaken to receive no commission until 2023. At the end of this date, it will charge a commission which will not exceed more than 5%, she indicates.

Asked by AFP, the French Deezer explains “studying the different ways of monetizing content to continue to bring more value to rights holders, creators and industry”. And to specify that no scenario (advertisement, subscription …) is, “for the moment, decided”.

– “Democratization” –

On the side of the firm at the apple, paid podcasts have been a reality since June. In France as elsewhere. Subscriptions, which are made at prices set by the content creators, give access to exclusive episodes, previews or programs without advertising.

On these subscriptions, Apple takes a commission of 30%. A share which will increase to 15% after one year of subscription.

If monetization seems to have taken place, it is because the French enthusiasm for podcasts is not waning. According to the study of the Paris Podcast Festival – which takes place from October 14 to 17 – more and more French people are listening to it (33% in 2021 against 29% in 2020).

There is “a real democratization of the podcast” which has managed to “anchor itself in the habits of the French”, observes Nina Cohen, deputy director of the Festival.

One question remains: will users be ready to take out a second subscription (in addition to the platform subscription) to listen to a podcast? The same survey shows that no, the free model with advertising is much preferred (63%) against a model with subscription but without advertising (37%).

“There are people who have the impression of already paying because they listen to podcasts via platforms on which they can already have subscriptions”, analysis with AFP Chloé Tavitian, director of audio narrations at HRCLS (group Havas ).

“There may not yet have been the podcast where we say to ourselves: + here I would like to subscribe +”, she continues.

– Advertising market –

The other idea related to monetization would be to further develop a “tip” system using tools like Patreon or Tipeee. System that has proven itself among YouTubers.

The principle is simple, explains Julie Gaillot, director of the Society pole (which brings together the opinion and social trends expertises, editor’s note) of the CSA research institute: “the auditors choose to give the content creator of their choice one, two, or even ten euros, in exchange for access to its content “.

For its part, Spotify launched the first audio advertising marketplace. It allows advertisers to purchase advertising space to connect with digital audio consumers, and more specifically podcast listeners.

Announced in February, the network today exists in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. No date is scheduled for his arrival in France.

On the side of institutions, which are witnessing the boom in the market, the Ministry of Culture announced at the beginning of September an envelope of 500,000 euros to help authors finance the writing of their podcasts and their radio creations, via a call for projects.

The amount, although symbolic, represents a first step for the economy of the podcast.