I was part of a panel discussion about how to profit from podcasts at the 2016 Storyology conference. Chatting with Heidi Pett (FBi Radio), Holly Wainright (Mamamia), and Alana Mahony (audioBoom), we questioned if it was too soon to be talking about this in Australia. But the market enthusiasm for podcast content and consistent growth in audience numbers indicates interesting times ahead.
My interest is mostly in independent podcasting and I think there are a few more steps before this can be financially viable in Australia. I’m a big fan of good content being the priority, so supporting producers develop their craft is essential. This is a big part of what Audiocraft is working towards. Once your content is rocking, building an audience becomes easier, but this is often the point where we get stuck…
The standards for podcast audiences are often linked to numbers and download figures coming out of the US, but given the population Australia, we can’t really compete with these. So perhaps it’s reframing the value of podcasts. If the focus was more about the quality of the production, a podcast’s niche and often highly devoted audience, and the unique bond the host has with that audience— then perhaps investors would be more receptive?
If producers can learn more about their audience (cue great analytics) and how to talk about them to potential sponsors, then maybe all the money biz isn’t so abstract. It’s going to be really interesting to see how these things develop in the coming years. It’s a great time for both content makers and listeners, who’ll hopefully be able to access more interesting local content.
I’ve just finished up work on a series of podcasts about Australians and their relationship with swimming pools. The final series is featured on RN’s Pocketdocs website.
This project was produced with Aileen Sage Architects as part of their exhibition The Pool which they curated for the Australian Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Being a bit of water lover myself, this was such a fantastic project to work on. The team did a series of interviews with prominent Australians including Paul Kelly, Ian Thorpe, Shane Gould, Hetti Perkins, Anna Funder, Tim Flannery, Romance was Born, and Christos Tsiolkas. Each explored the personal stories, memories, and ideas that swimming pools hold. Everyone has a pool story, they are places filled with nostalgia and charged with the different experiences of bodies in water and space.
This job was produced in two parts. Firstly I edited snippets of the interview material for the exhibition audio/sound loop. This was mixed with music from Australian composer and percussionist Bree van Reyk. It was designed to travel around the exhibition space, with voices coming in and out of small speakers positioned around an indoor pool installation.
Producers from all over Australia descended on 107 projects for our first Audiocraft conference on March 5th 2016 and it was an incredible! I knew that audio folk were great, but seriously- I don’t think I appreciated just how amazing it would feel to have so many of these awesome individuals in the one place at the one time. Our community of Aussie makers is thriving and it was so great to hear about all the podcast and radio projects people are working on. The room was buzzing with creative energy and good vibes. So good.
Our stellar line up of presenters got the conversations going and my head is still buzzing with all the ideas. Bec Fary and Jon Thjia had us independent podcast dreaming, and Timothy Nicastri and Miyuki Jokiranta took us deep into the wonders of sound design with new skills to boot. Joel Werner and Tiger Webb had everyone talking about sound stories with decomposing pigs, and Sophie Townsend and Jaye Kranz cracked open the mystical box of narrative radio. Our kicker panel on collaborative storytelling with Maddy Macfarlane, Kween G, Gavin Ivey and Giordana Caputo covered all the things we need to think about when working with other peoples stories and how to keep our radio making integrity in check. Then Sherre Delys wrapped the day up with her lyrical wonders reflecting back all the positivity and good times of the day. Stay tuned for the podcast of all the sessions.
It’s going to take a while to come down from this one. And we’re already plotting ideas for 2017….! In the mean time, we can’t wait to hear the entries for our first Audiocraft’s Short Feature Making Challenge