The Smart 7 team admit expanding to Germany was ‘the wrong way to go’

The difference between 4.00am and 5.00am proved more painful than expected

The creators of The Smart 7 podcast, Jamie East and Liam Thompson, have said that launching a German version of their daily news podcast was the wrong move, and that they should have expanded into the US instead.

In this week’s episode of PodPod, the pair discussed the expansion of their short-form daily news podcast - which provides a seven minute news round-up covering seven stories, released at 7am. 

The podcast has amassed massive success since launching in April 2020, with over 11m downloads. Through their production company Daft Doris, East and Thompson have worked on several adaptations of The Smart 7, including a German counterpart - which meant a much earlier start time during the launch phase, due to the time difference between the UK and Europe.

“We went the wrong way; we should have gone to America next,” said Thompson, who writes and produces the podcast. “...The difference between 4am and 5am is… Oh my God, every minute is more painful the further back you go.” 

“We did about three weeks of getting up at four and then both of us kind of went ‘I really think they're probably fine now,” he said, talking about the team who took over after the launch as part of their joint venture with production studio Podcast360 in Berlin for The Smart 7 adaptation.

East and Thompson initially started expanding The Smart 7 brand with the Irish edition, hosted by Irish radio presenter Ciara Revins in March 2021. Thompson, himself an Irish native, said the team saw an opportunity, as the Irish Apple charts weren’t showing a large amount of Irish content, and East said many of the stories would “carry across the water”. 

East and Thompson subsequently approached Acast for a list of the global markets that would be most receptive to The Smart 7 format and discovered that Germany would likely be interested in global news stories, more so than other European countries like France that tend to care for more local news. 

“If we classed the UK as the hero edition, so to speak, how much of that can we share without having to double up or treble upon resource to create content?” said East, who presents The Smart 7 and other Daft Doris podcasts such as Dragoncast. “Germany was a really good entry point to test that out and to see how that was going.” 

Although The Smart 7: Deutsche Edition is a joint venture with Podcast 360, none of the podcast’s editors - including East and Thompson - speak German. However, East reveals that they have learned to edit the show just based on the pattern of the speech.

“I would admit Germany has been a lot harder than we thought it would be, it's really difficult - and it's in German. Liam and I don't speak German,” said East. “In some ways it's remarkable to realise that you can edit an audio version of a German version of The Smart 7 intuitively just by tone.” 

Although East and Thompson haven’t announced any set plans to expand into other parts of Europe yet, the team has expanded into different verticals using the same format, including a daily workout podcast - The Sweat 7 - and a joint venture with Bauer Media’s Heat Magazine for The Heat 7 gossip podcast.