A key goal for Podcasts.scot is to encourage and support the development of podcasts that are intended as business ventures.

Podcasts where you seek to monetize the podcast itself not just use it to promote products, those that can produce significant revenues and/or be evolved into a licenceable media property for film or television.

Podcast Revenues

A number of experts offer insights on how to make money from podcasting, such as Riverside, Castos, Side Hustle Nation, The Podcast Host and Shopify.

It’s a booming trend with millions listening to a wide spectrum of authors and topics. Ad revenues are expected $2 billion in 2022 and $4 billion by 2024.

For some creative inspiration as to what type of podcast to develop great examples include shows like Wolverine – The Lost Trail.

If you’re older and remember fondly the radio shows that used to captivate you these provide a great inspiration for what could be achieved via a podcast. 

For example the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

From Podcast to Netflix

The very big opportunity is where the podcast can lead to, most notably that they can act as a feed for the streaming giants like Netflix.

Feed is the right word as these businesses have an insatiable appetite for content. Not only do they need compelling, original material but they also need a lot of it.

Given the propensity of viewers to binge watch enjoyable shows and the choice / volume of fresh content being the differentiating factor for which streamers to subscribe to / unsubscribe from, it’s easy to see their strategic success is determined by their ability to source new content.

As TIME writes not only do the streamers source titles from comics (Sandman has proven a massive hit) podcasts are also a a rich repository, and they cite nine examples of titles that have been picked up, shows like Gaslit, a Starz series with Julia Roberts spun up from a history podcast about the Watergate scandal, and The Dropout and WeCrashed, stories about the scam startups Theranos and WeWork.

Other examples include how Duncan Trussell turned his podcast into a psychedelic Netflix cartoon and CBR describes the challenges of the adaptation, exploring the transition of Archive 81 from a found footage horror podcast to a visual counterpart of their characters and story.

This makes perfect sense, as producing a great podcast requires a novel idea and a well written script, the starting foundations of any movie or TV show, and they can build an initial audience and feedback cycle for a next to nothing budget. In short they are ideal ‘seed stage’ ventures that can be evolved into a larger format and funding. 

Other angles on the opportunity include going the other way, from Netflix to podcast. Spotify debuted a ‘Netflix hub’, offering soundtracks to popular shows via podcast. Netflix see it as such a major field that they hired a dedicated VP for the format, as part of expanding their footprint.

Funding Opportunities

With that in mind we can look at possible funding sources for building this capacity in Scotland.

An especially well produced example is Atlantic – A Scottish Story, developed by The Big Light and supported by Creative Scotland’s Open Fund.

It’s a landmark, 8-part musical drama podcast, written by award-winning musical theatre partnership, Noisemaker – bookwriter/lyricist Scott Gilmour and composer, Claire McKenzie and features a soaring original score, traditional Gaelic song.

The show was the winner of the Bronze Award for Best Fiction Podcast in the British Podcast Awards 2022 and was nominated for Best Fictional Storytelling in the ARIA Awards 2022. 

“St Kilda now lies deserted, but it was once home to a remarkable community. For hundreds of years, islanders endured extraordinary conditions and built a unique society. On 29 August 1930, the entire island boarded a ship and left their home, forever. The series tells that story, through the eyes of two young islanders and the paths they both choose. Home and heritage, identity and belonging, stretched across the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.”
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