Universal—Reach Every One We Can

“Universal” podcasts and networks closely follow the lessons of public radio: Reach as many people as possible. Because this is their mandate, they provide high-quality content for free. This is also why This American Life has never put a paywall on its content, as Seth Lind explained:

Some people, when we started doing podcast sponsorships, said, “I would pay to not hear the sponsorship” [...], but we just want people to hear the show. We don’t want to have a paywall on the actual content because that goes against the idea of having the largest audience possible to hear what we feel are important stories.126

While universal podcasts often use a blend of revenue streams (such as direct support and foundation grants), they rely quite heavily on both baked-in and dynamic advertising. Summing up this philosophy, van Mosel said, “We’re platform agnostic. We’ll send our content everywhere. We want as many people to be touched by our content as possible, because our ads travel through wherever it goes. It works for us—more adoption, more exposure, more opportunity.”127

Examples include: This American Life, New York Public Radio, Intelligence Squared

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