Podcasts for Publishers
Podcasts for Publishers

Are Paid Podcasts A New Source Of Revenue For Publishers?

Podcasts are becoming popular but are they suitable for generating revenue for publishers? Let’s find out:

Written by: Rashmi

When the pandemic hit the world in 2020, the publishing industry felt major setbacks. Newspapers and magazines especially bore the brunt of the lockdown. But as soon as the tragedy struck, new ways of revenue streams made their way. The digital shift played a huge role in it.

From sponsored articles to subscription-based news, publishers adopted new ways to generate revenues. A few odd publishers started their own podcasts. The result? Podcasts are becoming one of the most appealing sources of revenue for publishers. In fact, some of the top publishers such as The Quint, The Indian Express, and The New York Times have already garnered a huge audience with their popular podcasts.

But what exactly is the secret behind this? Why are podcasts trending? And how do publishers turn them into revenue channels? Keep reading to find out:

Podcasts Are Here To Stay

Podcasts are not new. They have been in the market for decades. But their growth wasn’t exponential. It is only with the entrants like Spotify and the creator economy that podcasts have now entered the mainstream.

As per PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Media and Entertainment Outlook 2020 report, India has emerged as the third-largest podcast listening market after China and the US with over 57.6 million listeners. The report also stated that India's podcast consumption increased by 29.3 percent in the first year of the pandemic.

That was about the popularity. Now, let’s see some numbers about the revenue potential of podcasts. In 2020, the NY times made 36 million dollars via podcast ad revenue. Bloomberg also reported that its top podcasts bring in more than $1 million dollars per year.

In simple words, people are loving podcasts and they are ready to pay for them. This also means that it is the right time for publishers to create a podcast strategy and aim for higher revenues.

And the best part about podcasts? They are a lot cheaper to create than videos.

Moreover, users who listen to podcasts are more committed and loyal. Hence, there is higher engagement and responsiveness to every content created. A win-win situation, isn’t it?

Monetizing Podcasts
Monetizing Podcasts

Ways Of Monetizing Podcasts

No doubt that podcasts are booming, but they are still at the nascent stage. This means that rolling out paid podcasts just after launching it may not work well. Publishers should have a clear audio strategy to ensure that the podcast revenue does not rely completely on one method.

We have pulled out some other ways publishers can use to monetize their podcasts:


Advertising has been one of the most common and effective ways of generating revenue for publishers. And this applies to podcasts as well. Podcast adverts are of different types. They can be slotted in at the beginning (pre-roll), middle (mid-roll) or end (post-roll) of episodes.

Sponsored Episodes:

Publishers can also launch sponsored series while maintaining the thin line of editorial integrity and advertising. The series could be any sponsored episode or mini-series around a particular brand or company.


In recent years, the culture of subscriptions has multiplied significantly. The concept is also simple. The publishers just need to put the podcast behind a paywall (it can be a hard paywall or a metered paywall). Those who wish to listen to the podcast will have to pay a subscription fee.


The fanbase of podcasts is comparatively more dedicated and loyal. This can come in handy when you plan to add donation links and tip jars to your podcasts. Those who love your content and believe in the value your podcasts offer them will be willing to support you.

Be it the increasing number of podcast listeners or the multiple ways of monetizing it, everything points out one thing – paid podcasts definitely have the potential to become a strong revenue source for publishers.