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5 Podcasters Ready For Paid Subscriptions

How they can add 6-7 figures of revenue, what they should do and how you can be next

February 12, 2021
Mikel Ellcessor

If you’re here, you’ve already done the hard part - built a passionate audience and they keep coming back.  

You’re likely monetizing with ads, but if 2020 taught us anything - diversification is the next, necessary step. 

Revenue diversification has to be at the top of every podcasters’ list - right up there with refining the content and audience growth - if you want to stay in production. Until now, revenue diversification has largely focused on audience-direct revenue from events and maybe merch. 

Which is great, but only unlocks a microscopic amount of the latent energy contained by your audience. Nothing unlocks listener energy - and delivers cash in hand - like paid memberships. 

And you only need three things for a successful paid membership community:

  1. A passionate audience
  2. Your confidence that you’re giving them something meaningful and valuable 
  3. A seamless listener experience

Paid memberships are key for everyone who likes diversified income, stability and an upside that’s only limited by your creativity and the strength of your audience relationship.    

Let’s look at a variety of podcasters who are primed for explosive revenue growth and who demonstrate the universal potential of paid memberships. 

These enclosed scenarios are based on the success we’re seeing with the top performing Supercasters and show our estimates of their baseline and upside potential. 

The three key things in these scenarios (beside THE BOTTOM LINE) are the estimated downloads (based on industry data from Podchaser) the conversion rate and the subscription price. 

If you can identify in any way with these podcasters and their audience relationships, paid membership is for you! 

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz Podcast Artwork

Newly independent from ESPN and consistently dropping punchy episodes with tons of “did you hear that?” moments, Le Batard, his crew and & his emerging network are custom-built for paid membership.

Here’s what we’d offer paid subscribers of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz:

  • An ad-free version
  • Special “tailgate editions” to tee up the games everyone is obsessing over
  • Quick-hit extensions from their amazing universe of characters
  • Fan-driven “ultimates” segments where the audience tee up debates on all-time greats 

Potential:

Chart of Revenue Projections for The Dan Le Betard Show with Stugotz
Revenue projections for The Dan Le Betard Show with Stugotz

The Megyn Kelly Show

Podcast Artwork for The Megyn Kelly Show

Kelly’s ability to get top shelf guests and deliver a consistent dose of tightly executed, center-right skepticism quickly put her towards the top of the political podcast ecosystem. Her magnetism is the definition of the stickiness that makes for a healthy paid membership program.

Here’s what we’d offer paid subscribers of The Megyn Kelly Show:

  • Megyn’s weekly monologue as a stand-alone feature
  • Exclusive, news-driven quick hits between interviews
  • A monthly AMA
  • Ad-free version

Potential:

Chart of Revenue Projections for The Megyn Kelly Show
Revenue projections for the Megyn Kelly Show

Earn Your Leisure

Podcast Artwork for Earn Your Leisure

Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings have carved out a well-defined spot for themselves in the crowded personal finance/ business vertical. They consistently land guests you don’t hear anywhere else and when they book a Mark Cuban-type, it’s the perfect smart/ entertaining balance. A premium feed is the perfect next step for this expanding project.

Here’s what we’d offer paid subscribers of Earn Your Leisure:

  • A monthly AMA-style personal finance call for the entire community
  • A tie-in to EYL University with regular teases from the curriculum to fill the funnel
  • Special EYL paid subscriber merch to build on the store they’re already running
  • Of course, an ad-free version

Potential:

Chart of Revenue Projections for Earn Your Leisure Podcast
Revenue projections for Earn Your Leisure

Audiochuck

Podcast Artwork for Crime Junkie

Audiochuck has built a mass of true crime aficionados that are truly insatiable. The Crime Junkies Patreon is impressive AND there’s a whole Audiochuck network that deserves listener support. Through our work with Canadaland, we’ve seen creators convert thousands of listeners who don’t want to deal with Patreon and we think even the massively successful Audiochuck is leaving money on the table. 

Here’s what we’d offer paid subscribers of the Audiochuck true crime network:

  • Early, bingeable access to a new series
  • An ad free feed
  • Outtakes from Ashley and Brit 
  • Special VIP treatment for live virtual shows  

Potential:

Chart of Revenue Projections for Audiochuck
Revenue projections for Audiochuck

Sex With Emily

Podcast Artwork for Sex with Emily

It would be hard to find a podcaster who embodies trust like Dr. Emily Morse. Since 2005 (!!!,) Morse has been opening peoples’ eyes about sex and relationships “in a friendly, non-judgmental and open minded way.” Morse has also built one of the smartest diversified revenue streams in podcasting with a merch shop, ad sponsors (and sponsored product giveaways,) and a SiriusXM show. Her fans would DEFINITELY join a paid membership program.

Here’s what we’d offer paid subscribers of Sex With Emily:

  • An ad free version
  • Repurpose the back catalogue into topic-based series
  • Curated user reviews of the giveaway/ featured products 
  • A monthly AMA that would be AMAZING

Potential: 

Chart of Revenue Projections for Sex with Emily podcast
Revenue projections for Sex With Emily

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

The models tell the story: paid memberships, even with conservative 5% audience conversion rates and modest, $5/ month levels, can deliver transformative revenue. 

It’s stable, recurring revenue that’s driven by the most enduring element - your relationship with your most loyal fans. 

Remember, you only need three things for a successful paid membership community:

  1. A passionate audience
  2. Your confidence that you’re giving them something meaningful and valuable 
  3. A seamless listener experience

It’s gut check time for podcasters who want to go to the next level. The question is not “will listeners pay $5 or $10 a month to get an ad-free version or unique experiences?” Rather, the question is “do you have confidence that you’re fulfilling a meaningful role in your true fan’s life?” 

Inviting listeners to join you in a paid membership campaign is both an act of confidence on your part AND an act of trust all around. Trust that you are giving them something meaningful and worthwhile AND the listener imbuing trust in your ability to continue to live up to your promises.

At Supercast, we are unabashed in our enthusiasm about creating financial stability for podcasters. It’s our only business and we’ve partnered with major creators like Peter Attia, Dr. Rhonda Patrick and the folks at Get Sleepy to ramp up their programs. 

As they discovered, it doesn’t have to be a lot of work and, just like you, these creators need to maximize every minute of the day. With Supercast they found a way to get the proper balance of time/ effort and high ROI! 

Get Sleepy is a Supercaster with a very strong paid membership program. Take a look at their program and then ask yourself -- are YOU next? 

Podcast Artwork for Get Sleepy Podcast

If any of this has you curious, we’d love to help you run some numbers and make a plan. Get in touch!

Mikel Ellcessor

An independent producer who launched On The Media as a podcast in 2005 and doesn’t feel old about it all, but thanks for asking.

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