The Two Matts, which will be published weekly starting from 23 June, is hosted by New European editor Matthew Kelly, and Matthew D’Ancona, former editor of The Spectator and New European editor-at-large. The show will trade largely on political gossip and anecdotes, according to a source familiar with the plans, as well as discussing how politicians speak and the meanings behind what they say.
Employing a deliberately centrist stance, the podcast is explicitly inspired by The Rest Is Politics, which is co-hosted by Alastair Campbell, who is also editor-at-large for The New European.
“I like the conversational tone that Alastair and Rory adopted from the start,” D’Ancona told PodPod, “and the way that they bring their respective experiences in politics to bear on what they are discussing. It’s an approachable, absorbing podcast - which I think is exactly what politics, news and culture podcasts should strive to be.”
“I’m in awe of them,” Kelly added, “especially the amount of money they must be making.”
Kelly and D’Ancona will also be bringing guests onto the podcast on a monthly basis, with Piers Morgan tipped to be the first appearance. According to D’Ancona, the hosts are aiming to bring in guests from a range of different backgrounds, rather than just politicians, journalists and civil servants.
“We’ve both got fantastic contacts books,” Kelly said, “so hopefully we can attract some big, interesting names. I’m interested in talking to people who will speak their minds freely, which almost certainly rules out 95% of politicians.”
“As we witness the grotesque end of an era of politics, it’s a good moment to look out for fresh ideas and to find the next generation of changemakers,” D’Ancona added.
The move comes as part of a strategy to increase subscribers for the newspaper, which aims to be profitable by the end of the year. Once the show has built up momentum, the company plans to include access to an ad-free version of the podcast as part of The New European’s subscription offering via Acast+.
A full video strategy has also been put together to support the podcast’s launch, including full-length filmed episodes on Youtube and short-form social video clips on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. Acast has been selected as the show’s hosting and monetisation partner, and the podcast is being produced by ReThink Audio.
“I think YouTube has overtaken Google as the portal to the digital world. The use of video clips by the most successful podcasts on YouTube and Instagram is really striking,” D’Ancona said. “The key is to see all these things as complementary - writing, audio, video. The brands that find the connective tissue between the three will have the brightest future. It’s not a zero-sum game.”
"It's a real privilege to be working with a newspaper I have long admired,” said producer Matt Hill. “Both Kelly and d'Ancona are wonderfully indiscreet about the goings on in Westminster. I have no doubt it will be required listening as we enter the general election cycle."
Podcasts are becoming increasingly pivotal for publishers seeking to pursue a multi-platform strategy, with Reuters’ Digital News Report 2023 advising editorial brands to expand into more formats. The New European has already explored audio content, with The New European Podcast and Great European Lives with Charlie Connelly already part of the publication’s offering, but the new show marks an effort to capitalise on the growing appetite for news-based podcasts.
“I think in the past there’s been a fabulous tradition of two people talking in an intense, interrogative and occasionally combative manner about serious issues,” Kelly said. “I will never get bored of watching Gore Vidal and William H Buckley for instance. There was a brilliantly competitive discourse between them that I don’t see much of it these days on TV, or even radio.”
“I think if they were still with us, Vidal and Buckley would have a weekly podcast for sure that would knock Joe Rogan for six. Podcasting is probably the best medium yet invented for dialogue and that’s what makes it so much fun to do it with such a great conversationalist as Matt d’Ancona.”