Behind Scripps’ Podcasting Bet

Adam Symson, E.W. Scripps Co.’s incoming CEO, is unflappably bullish on podcasting’s potential — both as a narrative product and monetization engine.

“Podcasting represents one of the most important platforms for the future of storytelling in journalism,” he says, explaining Scripps’ motivation to acquire both producer/distributor Midroll Media and podcasting tech platform Stitcher.

They can be lucrative, too: at the higher end, Midroll’s shows capture a $100 CPM, though most currently average around $25.

Advertisers’ skepticism is abating, even though a reliable, standardized metrics is still elusive.

Larger advertiser like NBC, Exxon, Wendy’s and Coors are now joining pioneering marketers like MailChimp in the space, and Symson says part of the draw is that podcasting offers “a different form of native advertising” in the form of host-read ads.

Midroll CEO Erik Diehn says direct response advertisers have essentially proved podcasting’s efficacy.


“DR guys are basing everything on promo codes and lift, which is measured directly,” he says. “If podcasting weren’t working at the quoted audience size and the quoted CPMs, they simply wouldn’t renew.”

This story originally appeared in TVNewsCheck’s Executive Outlook, a print publication devoted to the future of broadcasting. Read the other stories in the Winter 2017 issue here. Subscribe here.

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