The popular Cinemile podcast will be exiting its current hosting and monetisation agreement with Acast and moving over to rival platform Auddy, the hosts have revealed.
The podcast, which is a film review show based on recording the married couple’s walk to and from the cinema, has garnered a loyal following and high praise from the likes of The Guardian, the New Statesman and BBC Front Row.
Speaking to PodPod as part of the latest episode, hosts Cathy Cullen and Dave Corkery shared that, despite critical praise, high chart rankings, and a British Podcast Award for Best New Podcast in 2017, they feel that Acast has failed to effectively monetise their audience over the five years that the podcast has been with the hosting company.
“They work on a CPM model, which means that they pay per thousand listens. And even at that, it's very nominal,” Cullen said. “We found that one month in our [subscription service] Patreon, which is also fairly small, would do more than we'd get in a year off Acast.”
“Where I think something like the Acast model falls flat is they aren't pitching us to, say, a film distributor who wants to ensure that they get an audience. Now I know we're in Ireland and the market's really small and our audience isn't very big, but… we're often number one in the Irish film review chart. And yet Acast have never, in five years, we’ve got month’s sponsorship from them.”
The hosts say that they don’t bear Acast any ill will, and understand that the CPM-based model used by platforms like Acast is highly beneficial for advertisers. Cullen and Corkery both work in marketing alongside running the podcast, and have both used Acast to traffic client campaigns, admitting that “it's a really cost effective way to advertise”.
“But alternatively, when you're the podcaster and you're thinking, okay… we don't get sponsorship, but they run ads on it,” Cullen said. “And I'm like, that advertiser - cause it's occasionally a TV or a film ad - they're getting our audience and we're getting like 50 quid for it.”
“And to me that feels wrong. And that's one of the reasons we are gonna come off Acast - because we feel like something's wrong there for us. It works if you've got a load of listeners; it doesn't work. If you're like us, which is a really engaged but relatively small audience.”
Instead, Cullen and Corkery told PodPod that they have agreed to move their show over to Auddy, a UK-based podcast hosting, production and monetisation company which Corkery works with on some of his other podcasts, including His Darker Materials and The Wire: Stripped. Auddy’s model is primarily based on direct partnerships and sponsorships, rather than CPM-based spot-ads.
“They work with podcasts that have an engaged medium sized audience, as opposed to exclusively focusing on reach,” Cullen explained. “They also come very well recommended by fellow podcasters.”
“We are delighted to have Cinemile join the Auddy network,” said Sophie Paluch, Auddy acquisition and partner manager. “We love working with shows where the podcasters show real passion for the content they are creating and the audience they are making it for. Cathy and Dave are a fantastic example of this. We look forward to working with them and helping them grow, and monetise, their amazing show."
Acast CEO Ross Adams has been upfront about the level of audience needed to make CPM-based revenue viable for podcasters, and told PodPod on a previous episode that five-figure download numbers are a common requirement for host-read partnerships.
“I think as soon as you hit that 20,000 listens or downloads a week mark, that starts to consider you for the likes of host-reads,” Adams said. “And therefore, that's where a big part of the revenue opportunity sits. But really, if you're delivering 50,000 to 200,000, you can make a very sustainable living out of podcasting alone.”
While the hosts of The Cinemile are unhappy with the level of monetisation offered by Acast, they stressed that their ambition is not to turn podcasting into their main source of income, noting that even if they were doing multiple podcasts on a full-time basis, “it’s not going to meet either of our salaries”. In fact, the couple said they give around one-third of their Patreon income to charity, once the podcast’s costs have been covered.
“It makes us feel good and it makes the patrons feel good as well,” Corkery said. “And also, let's be honest - we’d do it for free anyway.”