Creating premium experiences with private podcasts featuring Jason Sew Hoy

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Episode Summary

Using paid ads is one way of monetizing your podcasts. But did you know that you can monetize your podcast with the help of your audience? And you can also create premium experiences for your audience using a private podcast?

In this episode of Recorded Content, Jason Sew Hoy, Co-Founder and CEO at Supercast, joins host Tristan Pelligrino. Jason breaks down how podcasters can create subscriptions, develop premium experiences for customers and even earn sustainable revenue through a private podcast.

According to Jason, the subscription model fosters stable revenue growth, and it can be a great way of monetizing because people want two things – to get rid of ads and gain access to bonus episodes with high-profile guests.

“The intimate connections you create through podcasting, combined with the subscription model, and allowing a certain portion of your audience to pay to level up their experience and get even greater content was something that the podcast world was ready to adopt,” explains Jason.

Tune in to the new episode of Recorded Content to hear more about the challenges and benefits of creating a private podcast experience.

Guest Profile

Key Insights

“Private branded podcasts help customers understand what makes you tick as a company.”

Jason Sew Hoy

Co-Founder & CEO


Episode Highlights


Introducing the Freemium Model: Ditching Paid Ads for Subscription Fees

“What we see now is that the creators are employing subscriptions as well as ads. And that’s what we call a freemium model. So, you’re able to monetize from your free audience, which is still 90% of your audience. You’re able to serve them with your free show. And if you’re earning money from ads, then that’s great. The ads are the way that allows you to bring sponsors, and it subsidizes what you’re doing to provide all of that free content and that free value to the public side of your podcast audience.

To quote Kevin Kelly’s methodology, ‘there are 1,000 true fans or 5,000 true fans in your audience who just love what you do. They believe in your mission, and they would happily join you and support you in what you’re doing by being able to pay 5, 10, or even $15 a month.’ And in return, you can super-serve them with more of what they love, which is access to more of your content and greater access to you.”

The Essence of Embracing Individual RSS Feeds

“For every show out there, there is one link that can power a hundred or thousand million listeners. You can’t tell what each individual is listening to as you can with Supercast, where each feed correlates to one specific person. And what that means is that you get great resolution when it comes to your premium episodes and sees what content is resonating with what parts of your audience, and follow up on marketing.

Another benefit of having individual private RSS links is that we’re able to tailor the content to the individual subscriber who’s signing up. For example, the very first episode says, ‘Welcome, Tristan. Thanks for being a premium subscriber.’ We can inject your name into the title of the episode. You will click it because it’s got your name in it. And then you hear a welcome message because we know it’s the first time you’re accessing your feed. And we think that’s powerful rather than coming in at episode number 367 or whatever is the last thing published.”

Supercast and the Development of the Ask Me Anything Model

“We’ve built some tooling around the idea of an AMA or ask me anything session on Supercast, and this is available to both people that are providing premium memberships and charging for them, as well as people that are offering this within the context of their own organization. 

We give the ability for members to be able to access an AMA portal for a particular podcast where they can log their own questions. If they listen to an episode, it triggers something, and they want to know more about a particular topic, then they can come and ask a question, see what questions have already been answered and what other people have asked. The idea is that, once a week, once a month, once a quarter, the host wants to do it. They can come into the AMA portal from the backend, and they can select five questions that they want to answer – the most popular ones, or ones that are top of mind.”

People Want to See the Bonus Episode. And They’re Happy to Pay for It

“Extended episodes or exclusive bonus episodes are probably the most valued things from an audience perspective. Bonus episodes are pretty self-explanatory. I think that if you have high-profile interviews with high-profile guests, maybe you can promise an extra episode every two weeks or once a month.

Those bonus episodes do two things. One, they give you something very tangible and valuable for your premium subscribers. Two, they give you a way to promote your premium membership. If you have an interview with a high-profile guest, you can play the first 15 minutes in your free episode and say, ‘Hey, if you want to continue listening, here’s how you can sign up to get access to all of our premium content.'”

Helping Creators Build Their Own Castle

“We have invested a lot in building a platform that’s gonna enable independent creators, branded shows, and even podcast networks to directly monetize from their audience, whether that is bringing a single show to Supercast and creating membership tiers and monetizing one audience or bringing a network of shows over the Supercast.

Apple and Spotify have now seen that subscription podcasting is a huge opportunity. They’re introducing the ability to subscribe to shows as you’re looking at them in the Apple podcasts or the Spotify catalog. Subscription is coming in a big way because Spotify and Apple are now dipping their toes in the water. It transforms what is going to be normal within the world of podcasting from a creative perspective.”

Should Podcasts Be Free or Not?

“20% of listeners have already paid in some form. Because of that, your listeners are now going to be trained and taught that the content that they’re listening to has a premium vision. They’re going to hear this from more and more of their favorite shows that there is a way to get access to content and that you’re able to pay a monthly fee to be able to access that. This idea that we’ve had for such a long time, that podcasts are and should be free, we’re very quickly going to move beyond that.”