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How podcasts can help your membership or subscription strategy

E1ec22e9f8094c63d346a8e159ed1d3c?s=47 David Tvrdon
October 22, 2020

How podcasts can help your membership or subscription strategy

Lessons learned: How podcasts drive memberships, subscriptions, help subscriber retention and help with overall audience loyalty. At first, our newsroom thought podcasts will be primarily about subscriber acquisition. Podcasts are much more about retention.


David Tvrdon

October 22, 2020


  1. How podcasts can help your membership or subscription strategy David

    Tvrdon | @davidtvrdon
  2. Our story: Podcasting in Slovakia • An experiment in October

    2017 • Let’s try to do what the NYT did with The Daily • Simple setup: 1 host, 1 guest, 1 take • Super distributed production • Others joined - media, bloggers, influencers • Almost 20 podcasts today • Important part of the subscription strategy That’s how podcast listening has grown since →
  3. 30,000 daily podcast listeners to the daily news podcast of
  4. 21% of Slovaks are listening to podcasts (2muse, March 2020)

  5. Most listened-to podcast genres: Slovakia vs USA Slovakia (Apple podcasts

    & Spotify charts) 1. News 2. Society & culture 3. Comedy 4. Science 5. History 6. Health 7. Technology USA (Edison Research data from Q3 2019) 1. Comedy 2. News 3. Society & culture 4. Sports 5. True Crime 6. Arts 7. Business
  6. Few things we got right Lessons learned • Keep pushing

    for podcast subscription (not web listening) • Build a community: feedback + ongoing discussion (FB groups) • Public stats of podcast listening • Keep explaining what a podcast is and how to listen • YouTube for distribution as well
  7. When you don’t have data, ask for it & you

    shall receive.
  8. Typical podcast listener in Slovakia He (rather than she) is

    under 35 years of age, has a university degree, listens to podcasts daily, subscribers & listens to 3 to 5, and earns higher than the average salary.
  9. Who is listening Online survey of 3631 Slovaks • young

    people, especially women under the age of 35 • 92% listen several times a week (60% daily) • primary listening device: 87% smartphone (smart speakers 5%) • primary listening place: home (even before covid-19) • 61% say they don’t mind ads in podcasts
  10. Subscribers listen more frequently & in their view, paying for

    the subscription keeps podcasts going.
  11. Podcasting & subscriptions / memberships • First step: Building an

    audience • Second step: Converting listeners to subscribers • Third step: Understanding the audience (maybe it’s not about conversion only, think retention)
  12. Our mistake was thinking podcasts are primarily a way to

    get new subscribers. Podcasts are about retention.
  13. Subscribers: We love your podcasts Based on surveys and data

    • More than 50% of subscribers listen to podcasts regularly • More than 50% of subscribers say they listen to our daily news podcast • 20% say they listen to any of our podcasts • 16% would pay a higher subscription (more content, no ads)
  14. • We keep hearing “I listen and subscribe” • Subscribers,

    who listen to our podcasts, are super-listeners - they listen daily and to multiple podcasts • “Engaged listeners don’t churn” (report) • More work to be done Building a relationship
  15. 3-4 hours spends an average podcast listener with our content

    (on the web it’s 20 minutes)
  16. There is a huge opportunity for the future as ⅔

    of podcast listeners who are not subscribers yet are under 35.
  17. • Listeners keep asking for audio articles (work in progress)

    • Strategy for smart speakers • Experiment (true crime & live online recordings) Other opportunities
  18. Recap One more time • Podcasts help attract younger audiences

    • Podcasts help you build a lasting relationship with your listeners and are likely to become subscribers • Subscribers who listen to podcasts love them and are even willing to pay more for no ads and additional content
  19. Mark Thompson: Subscriptions seldom happen because of one story. It's

    about it's about a relationship.
  20. Thank you My favorite resources: • Written (blog) version of

    this presentation • Audio’s Opportunity by Matthew Ball • a16z Podcast: The Present Future of Audio • Podnews: daily briefing about podcasting • Podcast resources by Google & PRX • Gimlet podcast academy by Spotify • Lime Link: Helping podcasters be better • Tools for podcasters by RadioPublic Let’s stay in touch: • Website: • Weekly newsletter: FWIW by David Tvrdon • Twitter: @davidtvrdon • eMail: