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Since Whirlpool launched their American family Podcast, I have been wondering about whether other companies would follow suit by creating or sponsoring their own podcasts. I think for most companies, it is far easier to sponsor an existing Podcast that is operating in the niche target demo.

The going rates for a 15 sec sponsorship which is usually placed before and/or after the podcast is around US$45 per 1000 subscriptions, which is pretty good compared with Radio. Podcasts can attract very niche audiences and although they can be downloaded globally, there are ways to sponsor Podcasts that attract local audiences. I suspect eventually we will see technology that allows different ads to be placed in the same podcast, depending on where the download is made.

So, is anyone outside the technology or car industry actually sponsoring Podcasts? An example is Nature’s Cure which an acne product is sponsoring the Emmo Girl Talk which is run by a 15 year old girl.

The business models for Podcasting are still emerging. ChinesePod are offering Chinese Language training delivered via Podcasting. Their regular free podcasts are usually around 10 mins in duration .. perfect for when you are commuting to work, or waiting for a meeting. Chinese Pod also offer a premium learning environment that is Subscription based. I meet with the guys from Chinese Pod during Ad Tech Shanghai and was impressed with their business model. You can sign up for their free trial, and if you like it, for a small fee, become a subscriber.

Even the current media companies are signing sponsors to their podcast programs, as reported here by Katy Bachman of Mediaweek.

So for companies wanting to get their feet wet with podcasting, it should be pretty easy to find a relevant existing podcast to sponsor. I suggest talking to your existing consumers and finding out what Podcasts they are already listening to. Consider temporary sponsorships which provide brands the ability to sponsor 1 to 3 programs, without the ongoing commitment of a long term relationship. Promotional Podcasts are another viable option which companies could consider that coincide with a particular campaign.

Getting the right call to action in the actual ad, is also an important challenge. Most Podcasts have associated blogs, and therefore you should consider an integrated campaign including audio and the web. Creating a special offer will also provide the right measurement tools for you to track the response rates to your sponsorship. More on Podcasts in the coming weeks.