As on February 25th 2021, we have stopped our podcast distribution through Audioboom. Read to learn what this means for us as a podcast producer and you as a listener.
Background: partnership with Audioboom
Back in 2016, gaathastory and Audioboom practically began our podcasting journeys together in India. Over the years, we published over 15 of our podcasts, including Baalgatha, Devgatha, Veergatha and Fairytales of India. And of course, there was MyKitaab Podcast, the first show produced by gaathastory.
Move to Spreaker for Podcast Distribution
We were on a free / ad supported tier on Audioboom, and while we did generate some revenue by doing so, it was not working out for us. In fact, it almost had a detrimental effect: some ads were not suitable for the kind of shows we produce. The programmatic ad inserts caused some paid and grief, which outweighed the money earned. In early 2020, we signed up with a paid tier for Spreaker, and by Mid-2020, all our shows were available on both platforms.
Killing the Feeds for better control
Yesterday and today, I deleted nearly every single feed that was live on Audioboom. Some may call this rash, others might consider it a foolish Act. In the short term, this might even hurt our listenership. Below are the listener numbers over the past 30 days- nearly 1,300 listens per day coming even now from Audioboom across the network.
Why not a Redirect of RSS feed for podcast distribution?
We inspected the RSS feeds that are used for our shows across the major platforms- Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. To our surprise, we discovered that some shows were still served via Audioboom. In other cases, the show had been ‘claimed’ by someone else. This was a sign that we had to take some drastic measures to take back the control of our feeds and by extension the listener analytics. The best way was to start afresh.
We did set up a redirect for one show- Baalgatha Marathi, to try out the method.
Reinventing the wheel... Sort of
Around Mid-2020, I had checked our RSS feeds across the major platforms: JioSaavn, gaana, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Before the culling of the feeds, I did a sanity check on the feeds again. To my surprise, shoe shows on Apple podcasts and google podcast were still being served via Audioboom. I updated the feeds and the contact details on those feeds.
It has been a slow and a painful exercise, the biggest impact will be noticed on our websites - gaathastory and MyKitaab Podcast. Over 350 episodes use the Audioboom embed player for playing the audio on the web page (blog post). These will have to be updated one by one, manually. Not to mention the social media promotions that have been set up. Those are short terms pains that will have to be endured in this sixth year of our operations.
Way forward for Podcast Distribution for gaathastory
Going forward, our main focus will remain on top five or six places where we receive over 80 percent of listenership. The six locations are:
16 feeds X 6 major platforms = managing nearly 100 RSS feeds!
What about Other Apps of Platforms?
We decided to follow the 80:20 rule- focus on monetisation and growth via the sources of nearly 80 percent of our listens. These are the places where we will be able to respond to comments or feedback, engage with the listeners, and so on.
Which means, that for Castbox, Radiopublic, Hubhopper, Wynk, Breaker, and other services, the distribution can be managed via our partners. Otherwise, we will simply not be active on those channels. Spreaker remains an exception.
Saying No to new Channels
Every other day we get approached by a new app or platform who wants to stream our content. Others want us to host out shows using their content distribution service. Some of the services where our feeds are no longer active: Hubhopper for example, continue to send us messages. They just did so yesterday!
Our answer to them will be a one liner going forward, “Thanks, but No Thanks.” For us, less is more.