Podhero Launches Monthly Subscription Service to Support Podcast Creators

For $5.99 a month, fans can support their favorite podcasts.

There’s a new podcast platform in town – Podhero – and it is on a mission to support podcast creators. Developed by HipChat founders Pete Curley and Garret Heaton, Podhero is a new monthly subscription service that connects listeners with their favorite podcasts. With a 30-day free trial, subscribers can sign up for Podhero for $5.99* a month to access more than 1 million podcasts in more than 30 countries. The subscription fees are then divided and shared among the podcasts subscribers listen to and whom they want to support.

Podhero is available for iOS and Android, there are no platform fees, and Podhero does not take a cut of the proceeds. Users can contribute $1 a month to support the platform*, bringing the total subscription cost to $5.99, but the extra $1 is optional.

“…we don’t take a cut from your designated donation amount, and we’re proud to charge podcasters zero fees to use the platform. So we ask supporters for an additional $1 monthly contribution – bringing your total to $5.99/mo. – to help run our service. That additional $1 is optional, but you should know that it’ll go a long way to help us provide your favorite podcasters the infrastructure and support they need to be successful,” says Podhero in their FAQs.

According to Podhero, about 97.2% of podcast creators don’t make any money on their podcasts. Here’s how it breaks down (estimates shown are as of June 1, 2020):

  • 97.2% of podcasts (972,000 shows) generate no revenue.
  • 1.4% of podcasts (14,000 shows) generate revenue from ads or sponsors.
  • 1.4% of podcasts (13,800 shows) monetize listeners through platforms like Patreon.

With more than 1 million podcasts available, that’s a lot of money podcast creators are leaving on the table. Podhero wants to change that.

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“We are incredibly excited to introduce Podhero to the world today,” said Curley in the June 9 announcement. “As listeners, we were frustrated by how hard it was to support the podcasts we love. With Podhero, our goal is to make supporting podcasts as easy as paying for a Netflix or Spotify subscription.”

Podhero Founders Pete Curley and Garret Heaton

In a Medium blog post, Curley says that 99% of podcasts are too small for ads. Podcasts typically need more than 5,000 to 40,000 downloads per episode to attract advertisers. Also, advertisers choose the programs they want to support, not the other way around, and ad revenue is inconsistent at best.

“Ad revenue is unpredictable — We’re learning this in real time; COVID-19 came along upturned every aspect of our lives. Businesses tend to stop advertising when there’s economic uncertainty. They focus on weathering the storm, not attracting new customers,” said Curley.

Podhero has some strong backing, raising a total of $4 million in seed funding led by True Ventures.

“I’ve known and worked closely with Pete and Garret since 2006,” said Jon Callaghan, co-founder of True Ventures. “They are two of the sharpest product designers I’ve been lucky enough to work with and, with Podhero, they have turned their talents to the burgeoning yet fundamentally flawed podcasting experience. Podhero will change how creators and listeners alike experience podcast media, and their product will unlock enormous creativity for all.”

To get Podhero, users can go to the Google Play Store or the App store and download the app, then they can subscribe and listen to podcasts. There is no long-term commitment and subscribers can cancel at any time. In addition to being able to listen to virtually any podcast, subscribers can see what podcasts their friends recommend. This is an easy way to discover new podcasts. Don’t see a podcast you want to listen to? Let Podhero know, and they will consider adding it.

Image courtesy of Podhero

Insider Take:

There are many podcast platforms available today including Spotify, Luminary and SoundCloud, so listeners have many choices. The platforms all offer different interfaces, podcast features, menus and monetization options. Listeners have to decide where they can find the content they want, what interface and features they need, and how they want to support their favorite podcasts. The Podhero user experience seems simple, affordable and, quite frankly, altruistic. We love that the subscription fees are affordable and go directly to the podcast creators to support their work. Bravo, Podhero!