Streaming large Netflix is increasing its podcasting presence
Netflix is delving deeper into the podcasting space to invest audiences in its shows and movies.
The Los Gatos-based streaming giant is expanding its podcasts, taking pitches from outside producers, and looking for an executive to lead the audio push, according to those familiar with the plans who weren’t authorized to comment publicly.
“Podcasts are a great way for fans to connect with our stories and talent, and our marketing team plans to make more of them,” said Jonathan Bing, spokesman for Netflix, in a statement.
Bing declined to discuss the company’s plans and types of podcasts it would produce.
Netflix faces stiff competition. Apple launched a new podcast subscription platform last month, while Amazon recently launched West Hollywood podcast publisher Wondery, maker of the popular “Dr. Death. “In recent years, Spotify has grown rapidly in Sweden, acquiring a number of podcast networks and producers, including Gimlet Media and Parcast.
Although Netflix executives have stressed that they are not looking to diversify beyond their core streaming business, some podcast producers are hoping the company may still emerge as a bigger funder for audio creatives.
“It’s exciting to see more original content buyers in the audio sector,” said Marissa Hurwitz, an agent in WME’s digital division, referring to Netflix. Hurwitz represents many podcast producers.
The audio push builds on Netflix’s existing library of around 30 podcasts primarily used to promote popular TV shows and films such as “The Crown” and “The Irishman”. The streamer even has a podcast for their jobs page called “We Are Netflix,” which features employee accounts about corporate life.
The most popular podcasts to date are spin-offs like You Can’t Make This Up, which explore the real stories behind Netflix’s true crime movies and series. and “Okay, Now Listen,” a bi-weekly podcast under the company’s Strong Black Lead brand, hosted by Scottie Beam and Sylvia Obell. The show covers a wide range of topics, from colorism to body image.
So far, Netflix has mostly created its podcasts and new show ideas from outside producers, said several people familiar with the matter.
Investing in audio can pay off. Podcasts can be an effective way to build marketing buzz for shows. According to a survey by Edison Research and Triton Digital, around 80 million Americans listen to podcasts every week, up 17% over the previous year.
Netflix’s competitors are making a similar effort to get promotional podcasts. Earlier this year, Apple TV + launched an accompanying podcast for its “For All Mankind” series with discussions with people working on the show. Last year, TNT and the Cadence13 podcast studio launched “Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia”, a companion to the TV series “I Am the Night”.
Podcasts have become a popular way for developers to inexpensively test ideas and create new intellectual property that can later be developed into TV shows or movies. These audio programs include the Gimlet Media thriller “Homecoming,” which later became a series on Amazon Prime Video starring Julia Roberts. and the LA Times true crime podcast, Dirty John, which was turned into a show on Bravo.
“A major priority for many buyers, including Netflix, is intellectual property incubation,” said Hurwitz.
According to Bloomberg, Netflix has not diversified its businesses beyond its core streaming platform, despite looking into merchandise, consumer products and publications.
The company has also turned its hit shows like “Stranger Things” into video games. As with podcasts, these efforts have been largely a marketing effort to get attention to shows and movies, but they increase the potential for future revenue streams.
Currently, podcasts are firmly anchored in Netflix’s marketing department. Netflix has been promoting an audio and podcast manager for at least March who, according to an online publication, can “shape the vision and implementation for Netflix’s growth in the podcast space.”
The person would lead and shape Netflix’s podcast strategy, negotiate and manage contracts with outside partners and agencies, manage a departmental budget and a small team of in-house podcast producers and experts.
So far, Netflix podcasts have been available through Apple and Spotify, among others. However, according to reports, Netflix has been testing an audio-only feature and exploring the creation of a new online space to share podcasts and other additional content, as per the technology report protocol. Netflix has refused to comment on these reports.