A group of 15 fiction podcasts are partnering to create the Fable and Folly Network. The effort is led by Sean Howard, producer of the comedy adventure podcast Alba Salix, Royal Physician, who believes that by working together they’ll have a better chance at monetizing their creations. “Podcasting is set to become a one-billion-dollar industry by 2021 — but that doesn’t mean producers will magically be able to make a living,” said Howard. “Many of us in the podcasting industry have come to the realization that we must add advertising and sponsorship to our revenue mix, but I kept running into the same concern.” That pushback, he said, is that sales networks have told him they are unable to sell back catalogs since advertisers believe such shows are less likely to be listened to. But Howard said that isn’t the case for serialized fiction podcasts, where listeners start from the first episode rather than the episode that’s most recently released.
“I realized we needed to pull together some of the best minds in this space and consolidate our reach so that we could change how advertising is sold on fiction podcasts,” said Howard. The result is the Fable and Folly Network.
The ad network is an alliance of 15 podcasts, and it expects to add more in the future. The podcasts include The Amelia Project; Alba Salix, Royal Physician; Marsfall; The Carlötta Beautox Chronicles; Civilized; We Fix Space Junk; Greater Boston; Death by Dying; Harlem Queen; Dumbgeons & Dragons; What’s the Frequency?; and Moonbase Theta, Out.
“We’ve lost our way a bit,” said Howard, explaining they hope to attract advertisers who want to create “sponsorship stories” that audiences will actually want to listen to. “In the early days of radio, advertising developed into an art. Ads could be part of the show you were listening to. Likewise, podcast sponsorship can be more than announcers repeating the same bullet points over and over again,” he said. “It can be something powerful and creative that resonates with an audience to create unheard-of levels of engagement and conversion.”
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