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A podcast wave is rolling across the land. Currently, every third German regularly accesses free ondemand broadcasts – with newsthemed shows in the lead, followed by entertainment and music formats. But can anybody really make a living podcasting? Katrin Rönicke can! Together with Susanne Klingner, she runs her own podcast label, hauseins, and produces her own podcasts – one of them, “Wochendämmerung”, is financed by a socalled crowdfunding subscription. We wondered: Just how does that work?
CCB Magazine: Hello Katrin, you’ve been producing your own podcasts for years and you’re the industry leader in the Berlin podcast scene. What do you consider a good podcast?
Katrin Rönicke: For me it’s a good podcast if I can learn something and afterwards know something I didn’t really know before. After all, a good podcast is as rewarding as a good book.
CCB Magazine:You have your own podcast label, hauseins. With your “Wochendämmerung” podcast, which you produce with Holger Klein, once a week you provide a very subjective summary of the events of the past week. What’s the podcast about? And what sets you apart from the other podcasts?
Katrin Rönicke:Podcasting is all about niches, about storytelling. And what makes us special is our very own touch. Holger and I are very different. That’s why we both approach things differently; sometimes we argue. And we reflect on the things that we found remarkable or even strange; things that we felt we had to think about longer. We want to entertain.
CCB Magazine:Podcasts are booming. Since 2016, usage has been steadily increasing. Above all, knowledge and news formats are becoming increasingly popular, a study by the Hamburg market research institute SPLENDID RESEARCH recently found. Many listeners are young, but most of them are in the age range of 30 to 49 years. Nevertheless, podcasts can hardly prevail against big public stations. Why is that?
Katrin Rönicke:The problem in Germany is that it’s still difficult to advertise. This is very different in the USA, which is sort of the mother country of the podcast: There, podcasting is a real business. Podcasts can be financed through advertising partners, which really only applies to a few in this country. And if we were to advertise as a podcast label, there would be criticism – and even though a study by Podcast Marketing Network Podstars by OMR last year showed that over 80 per cent of podcast listeners would accept advertising – I can’t confirm that would be the case for us. Actually, it’s all about the question of how we can live on good ideas in the future. And podcasts themselves are creating a whole new and different way of mediation.
Podcasting is all about niches, about storytelling. What matters first and foremost is personality; you can even listen to podcasts along the way: while cleaning, in the subway, or completely free of distractions
CCB Magazine:Which would be?
Katrin Rönicke:For podcasts, what matters first and foremost is personality; you can even listen to podcasts along the way: while cleaning, in the subway, or riding a bike. Or even “free of distractions” – this was recently determined by the study SPOT ON PODCAST. For example, with our second podcast “Lila Podcast”, which also runs on our hauseins label, we are now reaching a younger audience. There’s a lot going on right now.
CCB Magazine:Altogether, there are eight more podcasts under your hauseins label. Can you make a living from your label and podcasts?
Katrin Rönicke:Yes, at this point I can. I live from podcasting but also from my hauseins label. All in all, however, I have two more mainstays: one at the Deutschlandfunk Kultur, with a podcast called “Lakonisch Elegant”, and one as a writer. My last book, published by Reclam Verlag, was about emancipation. I am currently writing my fourth work – it will be a biography of Beate Uhse, who would have turned 100 this year.
CCB Magazine:You have been financing the broadcast of “Die Wochendämmerung” since October 2017 through a socalled crowdfunding subscription on the platform, Steady. In the meantime, you are garnering more than 3,700 euros per month – and the trend is rising. Tell us: How does that work?
Katrin Rönicke:Steady is a crowdfunding platform offering a socalled crowdfunding subscription. The listeners pay monthly, but they can cancel at any time. On Steady, you can choose different packages: With us, the first costs only one euro per month – but there’s adfree content. The second is 2.50 euros, and the limit is at 20 euros a month. We pay a ten per cent commission to Steady. The special thing about the crowdfunding subscription is that, yes, you needn’t start from scratch every time. The subscription is similar to a newspaper and it allows bloggers and podcasters to secure a monthly amount. Originally the model comes from the USA. The US platform Patreon was the first one on the market.
CCB Magazine:What criteria does Steady have? Can anyone do it? What are the terms and conditions?
Katrin Rönicke:There are no fixed criteria, anyone or everyone who wants to can do it. Just sign in to Steady and off you go. As is the case with crowdfunding in general, an appealing presentation is important. Regular updates are also useful. And the nice thing is that you have your own regular income. Every month you receive a prepared invoice from Steady. We now have almost 700 supporters and are very happy that we as a company don’t have to book every single donation. We can do it in a single invoice and settle taxes without any problems.
We offer a crowdfunding subscription through the Steady platform. It’s completely unbureaucratic. And we now have a regular income of over 3,700 euros per month
CCB Magazine:It is noteworthy, however, that a ‘crowdfunding subscription’ primarily makes sense for those who are already established. So far, crowdfunding was considered the first market test. In Germany, the average value of a successful campaign is also ‘only’ 8,000 euros. Do you see crowdfunding subscription models as a real financing alternative for the future?
Katrin Rönicke:I believe so. It’s early days, to be sure. But you can see that it works just by looking at us. The whole Internet hype about advertising is going to end anyway. It’s just not as lucrative as it was a few years ago. And 90 per cent of the advertising revenue in the digital world goes to Google or Facebook anyway. But what do the small producers get out of it? Nothing. Crowdfunding subscription models are a real alternative here. The money goes, minus the commission, directly to the producers.
CCB Magazine:Katrin, last question: What are you busy with when you’re not producing podcasts or writing a biography about Beate Uhse?
Katrin Rönicke:My podcasts and writing actually keep me pretty occupied. And privately, I lead a normal life in Berlin: I have two children, with whom I often spend time in the city, or doing homework with them. And I like to dance. Oh, sorry, I have to run! Did you have another question?
CCB Magazine:No, you?
Katrin Rönicke:Nope! Ok, bye!
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