Remember the teen-targeted summer horror blockbusters? In 2020, they are probably listening to a podcast and it is not just because most American movie theaters have been closed by the pandemic. Teens, and all other podcast listeners, can find a growing list of horror shows to choose from.
“There are an estimated 90 million horror fans in U.S., and we are committed to developing a library of incredible stories for them” said Cassie Jozefov, CEO and founder of the horror podcast company Violet Hour Media. How big could the horror podcast opportunity be? Horror is one of the most popular entertainment genres worldwide, representing over 9% of all film and entertainment spending and generating more than $1.2 billion in global ticket sales in 2019.
Violet Hour Media released In Another Room, a collection of interlocking ghost stories, each one taking place in a different room of a notoriously haunted house. These ghost stories span the entire history of the mysterious home — from its troubled construction in the 1870s to today — and recount the tragedies of the various souls who have lived, and died, within.
Violet Hour Media also released Between The Devil. It features the story of a young girl in 18th century Europe who stows away aboard her father’s newly-christened merchant ship. Instead of adventure, she finds terror on the high seas, as rampant paranoia grips the crew, and unseen malevolent forces commandeer the vessel for their own purposes.
“Our mission is to provide a platform for diverse, creative talent to tell scary stories and to deliver a best-in-class audio experience,” said Jozefov. She previously spent three years at Warner Bros. and she launched Violet Hour Media last November with horror icon Eli Roth and veteran film executive Roger Birnbaum as her partners. With podcast series that feature scripts written by seasoned screenwriters, a diverse cast of professional actors, and original scoring and sound design, Violent Hour Media says its aim is to create intellectual property that can be adapted for film or television.
There are others also carving out a piece of the horror podcast market. Bloody Disgusting, the horror media company that’s behind such podcasts as Creepy, has partnered with Cinedigm to launch a new horror streaming network set to premiere just in time for the Halloween season. Both current and new podcasts will be made available on the usual listening apps in addition to film and television programming. But the new streaming network will open up its podcasts to people on a variety of connected TVs, digital set-top boxes, media-streaming devices, and web-based services cross Cinedigm’s global footprint of more than 670 million devices. And Bloody Disgusting said it expects to include other mixed media content, including eBooks, comics and other content in the near future.
“We are excited to bring our slate of original programming and network of podcasts to new audiences through this partnership. Cinedigm is the perfect partner to help bring this network to market,” said Tom Owen, President of Bloody Disgusting. The Chicago-based company said its podcasts average more than 1.6 million downloads a month.