Advertising, Magazines & Podcasts
Last year, Daniel Perez has this fantastic idea to get some group podcaster ads in Kobold Quarterly. I was among those involved, and while I couldn’t tell you if I got any listeners from that ad, I can say that I was happy to be a part of that experiment and to have RPGPodcasts.com also in the mag. This year, Daniel’s looking to repeat the experiment, which I’m happy to partake in again.
Donald Dennis of On Board Games publicly responded to this, and in a way that I completely disagree with. You can read is full text on his blog, but the part of want to respond to is this:
By charging podcasts for ad space the good folks producing the magazine are asserting they have greater value to us than we have for them, and that’s not a valuation I agree with. Why? It’s easy to skip advertisements in magazines without absorbing any content; it’s tougher to skip them in podcasts. Heck, if a podcast crew talks about a product, like a magazine, that’s about the same impact as a printed editorial or endorsement.
Donald, I think you’ve completely missed the point here. KQ hasn’t approached any of us looking for an ad-exchange or anything like that. KQ isn’t attempting to leverage us as a marketing tool in the way you mention. Sure, they could, and if they approached us as podcasters asking us to advertise, this argument would apply. But they didn’t — Daniel is looking for a few interested podcasters to take up a service KQ provides, that of advertising. KQ is an entity looking to (I assume) be profitable, which includes meeting its target ad revenue, and we’re a group of entities looking to take advantage of that.
But the assertion that because less than a dozen of us are thinking “hey, let’s advertise on KQ” and that KQ is willing to take our money that somehow KQ is of “greater value” is assinine. That’s like saying that KQ has a greater value than the game companies that advertise with them — because that’s exactly what’s going on here. Just because it’s a different type of media outlet doesn’t change the advertiser-advertisee dynamic.
Let’s not stop there. Donald is saying that it’s wrong to claim that a professional magazine with an editorial staff is something “of greater value” than a group of amateur pseudo-radio nerds doing their own production and having an unverifiable listenership. That’s what 95% of us podcasters are — amateurs (perhaps with aspirations of professionalism, including myself) who do not answer to creditors if we miss an episode or come out late, and who cannot accurately verify listenership (as measuring downloads is a poor way to measure who is actually listening and who has just not bothered to stop subscribing, and have no reason to “catch up” since it’s a free show, removing that “I should get my money’s worth and check it out” sense).
But, is it wrong to assert that? I’m not so sure — it’s also easy to ignore ads on a podcast. Or after the podcast is over, on your commute, forget that the ad even played. Many podcast listeners aren’t in front of their computers when listening, so it’s potentially lost. And it’s rare that a podcast is listened to more than once by a person, so you don’t get repeat business potential in re-reading a magazine article. On the other hand, a print ad, while one can scan over it, exists in a way that’s referencable — people do re-read articles because print media makes referencing past data more convienent. So our ad is more likely to be seen again and again, even at a glance, by readers. And each impression comes with a more likelihood of follow-up. People are curious creatures (which is why my logo for Master Plan is meant to draw attention and make you wonder what I’m on about).
If you think you deserve some sort of free ad exchange because you’re a podcast, Donald, then why don’t you offer it rather than complain about a situation whose origins you’re not taking into consideration? And if you do, be prepared to justify that your show will bring an equivalent value to KQ that they believe they’re giving to you. Be prepared if someone tells you that “2000+ downloads isn’t 2000+ listeners.”