Advertising may safely remain the biggest revenue source for podcasters for years to come, but it’s not just subscription revenue or donations that some producers are considering as an alternate way to make a show profitable. A growing number of shows are creating live events. Vivid Seats, the independent ticket sales rep, tells Axios the number of events that have sold based on podcasts has increased by over 2000% during the past six years as hosts have been able to cash in on the intimate relationship they develop with listeners. In 2019 there have been 469 live podcast events so far that have sold tickets on Vivid Seats.
“We've seen the enormous growth of fans looking to see their favorite podcast hosts in person” said Michael O'Neil, Head of Public Policy and Community Engagement at Vivid Seats. “Certainly, huge summer concerts, traditional sporting events and theater shows remain popular, but fans are clearly enjoying more tailored forms of live entertainment that hardly even existed a decade ago.”
The true crime comedy podcast My Favorite Murder, hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, has so far been able to capture the biggest ticket price. Vivid Seats says the average ticket for a My Favorite Murder event costs $117. But for the upcoming My Favorite Weekend event in Santa Barbara, CA the podcast is selling ticket packages to an episode taping that cost between $249 and $1,855—with some hotel options already sold out for the November event. The pair will take their live show tour to the U.K. and Ireland in November.
It probably helps that Kilgariff is a stand-up comedian and Hardstark is a host for the Cooking Channel. But other podcasts are also monetizing their live events too.
Vivid Seats data provided to Axios shows NPR’s Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me charges an average $113 per ticket while Armchair Expert charges $108 on average. Crooked Media’s Pod Saves America gets $103 and iHeartRadio’s Stuff You Should Know gets $58.