Cycling / podcast sponsorship

I listen to a French radio show that is released as a podcast, Carrément Vélo which announced in the last episode that it needs a sponsor to continue. It’s a weekly discussion show, debates the latest news in the robust style that French talk radio is known for.

Blog et Rugby : Pierre Salviac
Pierre Salviac, Grande Geule (“Big Mouth”) of Carrément Vélo

I might be wrong, but I understood it to mean they needed advertising in order to continue putting out the show in download/podcast form. I found this odd, because the show is funded by a commercial station and all the prep work will be done anyway for the 1 hour live broadcast. It’s isn’t as if there is much editing to do either- a jingle on the front, and the news cut out on the half hour.

The Velocast, one of the most popular podcasts I listened to, struggled to attract advertisers even with 6000 downloads a month and a pretty passionate, engaged fanbase. It was produced to a professional standard, but fell by the wayside because the time requred to do so was too great. Velocast presenter John Galloway has stated that the show’s successor, the Flammecast, is even more popular. But I still worry how long presenters can go on producing these shows out of the goodness of their hearts.

It may be that marketers haven’t quite figured out how to use this type of new media. We’re certainly a little way behind in the UK. Over the pond you will find most of the podcasts find a way to cover (or at least contribute to) their costs in different ways.

We have seen some blogs, including the Inner Ring, Pavéblog and taking discreet advertising, and I think this is good recognition for the number of views they undoubtedly must get, and the contribution they make to the cycling media. I’d be interested to know what the analytics look like for some of these sites. There are a few banners on the Flammecast site now, which I’m suspect make a small contribution to the comparatively large quantity of hours those guys put in.

So why so few ads on podcasts? I get a lot of my media through radio (downloaded and live) and if Carrément Vélo were to go, I for one would be disappointed.

Pro cycling sponsorship
This rather geeky, inwardly-looking post comes after The Inner Ring blog mused on why Team Highroad, the most succesful professional cycling team at the moment, doesn’t appear to have a sponsor. Cycling doesn’t seem to be overflowing with commercial success at the moment.

Related posts
How to ‘make money’ from a cycling podcast
My cycling podcast reviews/posts

  • Hey Owen
    Nice and timely post chum.Velocast downloads were about 10,000 per month in “normal” months. Obviously far more during July. Flammecast was about 15,000 last month but still growing and with the Tour coming up I’d be surprised if it didn’t top 20,000 in July. Derek and I are already having discussions about revenue streams. The equation is a simple one. We do this because we love the sport but there comes a point where you have to balance the time an improving show takes against actually spending time with the folk you love. Eventually one will lose out and it’s not the family.Derek and I are gearing up for a full on push for sponsorship (feel free to get in touch folks, gear or dosh welcome! ;oD) and have some great ideas to improve the show. If we stop though it’ll be because we can’t spare the time. Sponsorship or advertising would buy that time. Bear in mind that this is reaching a far more engaged audience than dead tree media.Nobody’s greedy here, just pressed for time.John G (former Velocaster current Flammecaster)

  • Anonymous

    thanks john for the comment. I totally hear you, love the podcasts and
    appreciate the time you put in. There must be the potential for
    sponsorship out there, as you suggest, it probably needs a big push
    and a compelling argument for advertisers to come on board. Maybe some
    marketing expertise is required? Good luck.

  • I think cycling podcasts are themselves a small part of a relatively small community.  If you listen to a podcast, you’re part of that “engaged audience” but as a result you’re probably already seeing ads in mainstream media. If you’re an advertiser, why pay again to reach the same audience?

    At VCDL, we deliberately took the decision not to sweat a production schedule and our 3-weekly timetable sort of happened by accident.  That makes the balancing act to which John alludes more manageable but that of course has a bearing on what we talk about. 

    Guess at the end of the day we’re all doing something we really enjoy and we’ve never really thought too seriously about it being a commercial entity. Affiliate programmes do generate some income but ithe cake is fairly miniscule.  It’s therefore not something we can in any way rely on. Our inherent geekiness and a love of talking pish about bike can always be relied upon tho’! 🙂

    Velo Club Don Logan

  • I fecking hate podcasting. I only do it for the money.

  • It’s a facet of my personality that demands a weekly schedule. It’s that old “if a thing’s worth doing it’s worth overdoing” thing. If it was every three weeks for me I’d lose interest and not bother. A.D.D. I suppose. 

  • Christ, I thought for a minute you were going to say, “if a thing’s worth doing it’s worth doing properly”… 😉

  • Anonymous

    My mind was ticking over on a ride today, as it does, and I was thinking about the ‘full-on push’. You might get a few forward-thinking companies get in touch, but to make it pay enough to, say, work your day job 4 days a week and devote the other to podcasting, I think you’d need to push the ad opportunities (you may already know this).

    First you’d need a good breakdown of your listener figures- top-line numbers probably won’t be enough for advertisers. They’ll want to know where the listeners come from, how many are male or female, what age bracket are they. Some data on your twitter followers, number of twitterers who reply you, blog commenters etc, to demonstrate how engaged the audience is.

    THEN ideally you’d need an idea of who your target advertisers are: worldwide manufacturers, retailers, other media (e.g mags, or online) small uk

    THEN an idea of what the ads would be: seconds at the top of the show, a sponsored ‘slot’ (e.g “now it’s time for ‘The Drum-Up Suitcase’ segment”); and a guideline price for them.

    AND THEN a database of the target advertisers with contact details of marketing managers… notes as to when they were contacted, what the outcome was, etc…

    I’m making this sound like a full-time job. If I come into money I’ll quit my work and apply as your marketing manager.  … take all this with a pinch of salt- it came from one of those on-bike streams of consciousness where the creative brain goes into overdrive!

  • I too have been thinking along these lines. FWIW The Bike Show gets 32,000 downloads a month. Cycling Plus magazine sells around 40,000 copies a month – and is brimming with ads.

    The 32,000 is largely new shows but a significant portion is made up of a fairly large back catalogue going back to 2004. Quite a few shows are relatively timeless, i.e. not pinned to particular events.What could sponsorship mean for The Bike Show? Well, the first thing it would mean is that the show could become properly weekly, rather than running in seasons. This would be good for listeners and would be good for the size of the audience as there’s inevitably some drop-off in the number of subscribers between the end of one season and the start of another. 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Jack. Blimey- 32,000. Would be great to see yours and some of the other high-quality shows going one step further. The presenters are what make them great, but I can hardly imagine you have any additional spare time to go chasing revenue…