LaunchPad

As podcast companies race to sign big-name talent to some of the most lucrative deals the industry has seen to date, PodcastOne is taking a step in the opposite direction. It has unveiled Launchpad Digital Media, a new division that will focus on helping small, independent shows. The move puts PodcastOne up against some of the industry’s established podcast hosting companies like Libsyn and Blubbry.

LaunchpadDM—the shorthand that PodcastOne has applied to the division—will offer a free hosting platform and access to analytics, including listenership, geographic and device data. Producers will retain ownership of everything related to the podcast, including subscribers. They’ll also be able to decide which of the podcast platforms they want their show distributed on. Creators will also keep all revenue from ads they sell direct into their podcast, typically through host-read spots.

So what’s the catch? In order to keep all of these features free, LaunchpadDM will have the ability to insert pre-roll and mid-roll spots, but never more than two total minutes per episode, which will be dynamically inserted. Using a new technology, PodcastOne says podcasters will be able to select the exact location for the mid-roll spot when uploading the episode to LaunchpadDM to guarantee the ad doesn’t interrupt programming.

PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris said their aim is to “disrupt the current model” that has left independent podcasters “out there in the desert” with little notice by the major podcast networks. In addition, small indie podcasters often have to pay to have their show hosted, with little help in getting discovered in a deepening sea of more than 700,000 podcasts. That includes offering users the resources and promotional power of PodcastOne and the more than 300 shows under its umbrella, including big draws likeThe Adam Carolla Show and Ladygang.

“The thing that makes Launchpad a game-changer for podcasters who want to grow their program to a point where it can generate meaningful revenue for them is it’s the only hosting platform designed by a major network to discover new, rising stars,” Morris said. “We will see which podcasts are performing well and offer them the opportunity to partner and grow with PodcastOne, and provide them with all the resources the network offers, including production, talent booking, promotion, a dedicated sales team and more.”

PodcastOne says in addition to small shows, it’s also opening LaunchpadDM to first-time podcasters.