September 28, 2009

Premiumcast: Making Money from Podcasting

Paul Colligan, CEO of Premiumcast

Paul Colligan, CEO of

David SparkThis interview is part of my series “Making Money from Podcasting” (read summary “9 Successful Techniques for Making Money from Podcasting”) where I interview podcasters who are actually generating revenue from their podcasts. There are many techniques, and here’s one person’s tale of how he’s making money from podcasting.

Build an audience and sell premium podcasts

Paul Colligan is the CEO of, a company that builds and sells an RSS-subscriber management technology. It’s different than traditional podcasting in that Premiumcast creates personalized RSS feeds. With traditional podcasting, the podcaster sends out a single RSS feed that everyone subscribes to. The publisher has no control over that relationship with that listener. The listener is in complete control, choosing when to turn you on and off.

PremiumcastWith a personalized Premiumcast RSS feed podcast publishers can control the relationship with every single listener. And one of the primary things you can do with that controlled relationship is charge for the podcast. Since it’s personalized, you know the status of every single subscriber. For example, if subscriber #423 is up for renewal and they don’t pay, you can turn off their specific feed, but keep #424 going since they did renew.

Publishers also have control of how podcasts are delivered for new subscribers.  With traditional podcasting, when a person subscribes, the first program they get is the one that’s most recently published. With a Premiumcast, when you get a new subscriber, you can begin their podcast feed at episode #1 and deliver it sequentially over time – once a week, once every day, whatever.

Interview (Time: 12:37)

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There’s a whole host of other personalized control mechanisms you can deliver or impose in terms of types of content (e.g. audio, video, PDF) and timing of the content. It’s essentially up to the publisher how they want to manage their service for their customers.

Premiumcast does not manage the publisher’s payment nor take a percentage of what the publisher charges. Premiumcasts are simply a flat fee. The cost is $97 a month for the standard version and $147 a month for the unbranded version. The unbranded version means you can erase all mentions of Premiumcast on your feed and on your site, and make it appear 100 percent your own.

How to create a podcast that people are willing to pay for

Most of the people who take advantage of Colligan’s Premiumcast are offering up “how to” shows and training programs. His advice for others who want to achieve success selling their podcasts is to simply understand their audience’s needs. For example, if someone is preparing for a certification in some type of business, having a preparatory podcast is highly valuable and people will pay for it. Just take a look at what happens as people are walking out of bookstores, said Colligan.

He’s seen cases of podcasters who used to offer up a show for free and then started charging for it. That doesn’t work, said Colligan, especially when there are tons of similar competitive podcasts that are available for free.

Colligan’s top advice is to have an audience first before you try to sell a podcast. If you don’t have one, don’t try to sell a podcast. Gathering an audience can be done in multiple ways. You can build an audience by running a free podcast and use it to promote your paid podcast, or you could spend the money on search advertising and build an audience that sees your paid podcast.

Here are Paul Colligan’s top three tips on how to successfully sell a premium/paid for podcast:

  1. Know exactly what you’re delivering and what its value is.
  2. Know exactly who you’re delivering it to.
  3. Paint a message of the value of the content, not the technology that’s delivering it. (e.g. call it a “training program” and not a “podcast”)

For more, listen to my interview with Paul Colligan as he describes all the different ways you can manage and monetize a Premiumcast. Plus he offers up some more great advice on how to make the most money offering up a paid podcast.

More episodes of “Making Money from Podcasting”

  • Never Not Funny (Technique: “Partial show for free – full show paid”)
  • Personal Life Media (Technique: “Build your own media network of programming and sell advertising against it”)
  • Pregtastic (Technique: “Get your own sponsors”)
  • Elsie’s Yoga Class (Technique: “Sell an iPhone application along with your podcast”)
  • Mac OS Ken (Technique: “Give away five shows for free, make them pay for the sixth”)
  • Alaska HDTV (Technique: “Get your own sponsors”)
  • Duct Tape Marketing (Technique: “Build your brand to sell your services”)
  • ScreenCastsOnline (Technique: “Give away every other episode. Make them pay for the rest.”)
  • Izzy Video (Technique: “Give away every other episode. Make them pay for the rest.”)
  • Slate Gabfests (Technique: “Integrating sponsorship with the show’s editorial”)
  • Wizzard Media (Technique: “Got audience? We’ll get you sponsors. Or, get sponsors on your own and we’ll insert the ads” PLUS “Sell an iPhone application along with your podcast”)
  • Manager Tools (Technique: “Build your brand to sell your services”)
  • ESPN (“Build your own media network of programming and sell advertising against it”)
  • Mevio (Technique: “Motivate your audience”)

David Spark, a partner in, helps businesses grow by developing thought leadership through storytelling and covering live events. Contact David by email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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