The Irish podcasting industry is “booming”, according to the co-hosts of award-winning comedy podcast This Paranormal Life, and shows evidence of following many trends established within the British market.
The podcast, which has been running since 2017, was created by Rory Powers and Kit Grier Mulvenna, who met at school in Northern Ireland, before founding their podcast while living in Hackney. The show is nominated in three categories at the 2023 Irish Podcast Awards, including Best Comedy, Best Entertainment, and Best Fiction Podcast. It previously won Best Entertainment Podcast at the British Podcast Awards in 2019, and was nominated across categories at both the IPAs and BPAs in previous years.
According to Powers, attending the Irish Podcast Awards last year was a learning experience for himself and Grier Mulvenna, introducing them to new podcasts and production companies based in Ireland.
“I think there's a lot of Irish podcasts and Irish podcast production companies that even I was unaware so I was, quite rudely, the entire night basically taking notes on my phone,” said Powers in the latest episode of PodPod. “It was just a whole night of learning about how much this industry is booming over in Ireland.”
However, Mulvenna also noted that despite its success, the Irish podcast market isn’t currently dominated by established talent, pointing out that last year’s Irish Podcast Awards saw heavy representation of independent podcasts rather than shows driven by big names.
“Since Covid, in the UK there's been a huge influx of celebrity-hosted podcasts and we saw massive podcast hosting deals and stuff like that going on,” said Mulvenna. “Because Ireland is probably similar to lots of other like European countries where it's a smaller market, I don't know if you've seen that same almost gold rush of huge talent moving in.”
“I think some of the big winners on the night, I seem to remember, were not existing huge talent, but people who were just podcast-first.”
Winning a British Podcast Award in 2019 hugely benefited This Paranormal Life, according to the co-hosts, giving them a push in the press which helped them get in front of more people overnight.
Since launching the podcast, This Paranormal Life has introduced a tiered subscription offering on Patreon which now has over 2,500 subscribers and brings in over £13,000 in revenue per month. This, along with other activities such as an international live tour - which started on Friday last week - has allowed the podcast to create multiple revenue streams which the co-hosts are then able to reinvest into increasing the quality of production for the podcast.
“As the show has grown and become more profitable, we've essentially taken as much money as we can to reinvest it in the show,” said Powers. “Because of that, we've been able to get a researcher, a full-time editor and video producer, we've been able to start filming the show; we have our own small but cosy studio now where we get to record and we've kind of built our own set.”
“It's all of these amazing things that we simply wouldn't have been able to do without the support from the audience.”