Communicate spoke with Chirag Desai, CEO of Amaeya Media, to learn how branded podcasts can expand their reach through licensing partnerships and about Amaeya Media's latest partnership.
What is the state of podcast content licensing today?
We haven’t seen a lot in terms of podcast licensing in our part of the world yet, although platforms like Deezer have been looking to create original content as exclusives. Globally, podcasts have been licensed on radio quite a bit in countries like the US and more recently to video platforms as well. For example, Dirty John, a podcast by Wondery and The LA Times was made into a TV series airing on Bravo in the US and Netflix worldwide.
The general trend however has been for platforms like Spotify to pay creators for podcasts as exclusives, as they’ve done with their acquisition of Gimlet in 2019 and The Joe Rogan Experience, or as Amazon Music did with Wondery in 2020.
So we’re quite excited that our partnership with Talk 100.3 could be a first in our region, and we hope it will set a template for more such partnerships in the industry.
Tell us about your partnership with Talk 100.3. How does it work exactly?
Talk 100.3 is a news, sports and conversation radio station under the Fun Asia Network. Our partnership with Talk 100.3 takes the form of TalkCast with Amaeya Media, and airs weekdays at 11 a.m.
During TalkCast with Amaeya Media, listeners will be able to hear episodes from our catalog of shows, covering a variety of topics such as entrepreneurship, sustainability, personal stories, motherhood, self-help and more. For example, Tales of the Trade, our show about local entrepreneurs and the communities they’re bringing to life will air each Sunday, or The Lighthouse Conversations, a show developed in partnership with The Lighthouse Restaurant and Concept Store and showcases conversations with tastemakers in the world of arts & culture, tech and food, airs on Wednesdays.
We’re excited to be able to bring our content to a new audience that enjoys audio, and have worked to create a programming slate for each day of the week that can help inspire, impact, learn and foster conversations, while creating an entertaining listening experience.
Why partner with a radio station when both mediums are aggressively trying to compete for listenership in the audio space?
We believe podcasts and radio are natural partners; both mediums celebrate audio and provide interesting content in places where audio is the best form of distribution, such as commuting. And yet they’re different in their delivery; radio being live and current while podcasts are on-demand. So many film and TV creators are licensing out their content to streaming platforms, radio and podcasts can work hand in hand to grow together.
As you may recall, in answer to Communicate’s question about the most important development for the industry in 2021, I’d mentioned this diversification: “the omni—building on top of your existing foundation channels but growing horizontally, not just vertically [...] The ones that explore alternatives will succeed as users’ attention and adoption of new platforms continue faster than ever before.”
This partnership can go both ways—shows streamed on the radio can be released into a podcast feed for offline listening, therefore growing the audience to include both those who can listen live, and those who cannot; while shows created for podcasts can be streamed on the radio. Partnerships like ours with Talk 100.3 will help bring new content to a new audience, which serves as a win-win partnership. We also believe there’s an interesting avenue to further explore customising the content for the medium, which we look forward to unlocking together with the team over the next few weeks.
How are you able to license branded shows such as The Lighthouse series on a different publisher? Isn't there alot of legal aspects one needs to look at?
So far, podcasts have traditionally been distributed in podcast apps, whereas this partnership allows us to explore a new form of distribution for the conversations. So a branded show like The Lighthouse Conversations could also benefit from a new audience hereto not regularly listening to podcasts, or looking to explore new content, and the brand can expand its mission to help grow the arts & culture scene in the region. Similarly, our work with Forward Talks in partnership with Goumbook to help drive sustainability conversations could be boosted by the partnership, and also ties in with Talk 100.3’s own sustainability segment on their Talk Back evening show.
In terms of legal aspects, we had to work with our brands to extend the distribution of the shows to the radio of course, and we went into this process with our brand partners in the weeks prior to the launch. The publisher of the show is still The Lighthouse or the brand in question, but now also includes radio as a distribution channel, in addition to podcast apps such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict or Breez.
If brands who have branded podcast series are interested in pursuing such a licensing opportunity, how should they go about it?
For any brand, we need to start with their purpose, and the audience that we’re looking to connect with, and impact. In fact this is how all our conversations begin for the brands we work with; understanding the mission behind the brand, and what would be the best way to reach their audience, which then defines the distribution—that can be a podcast, or an advertising campaign on an existing show; as well as mediums such as social media and now, the radio. And if there is a content-audience fit, we work with brands to understand how we can make sure the content is delivered in the best listening experience for the medium.
Our partnership with Talk 100.3 therefore becomes a natural fit since it brings our original shows and branded partnerships to a wider audience in the UAE—which in turn helps drive our mission, to foster the conversations we believe are important, and bring our listeners value as we grow the community and the content ecosystem at large.