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A message from Earwolf's CEO about yesterday's episode de-publishing


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#1 ErikD

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 06:17 PM

Hey, everybody. I haven’t posted much here before, but I’m the CEO of Midroll / Earwolf / Stitcher.

I don’t have to read too far down to see that many of you here are upset and confused by yesterday’s de-publishing of older Earwolf episodes from iTunes. I also know that a while back, we promised to warn all of you in this very forum when we were about to move the Earwolf archives into Howl. And, well, we didn’t. We messed up. I am sorry.

We had a whole plan in place to make sure we announced this, to make sure hosts announced it, and to make sure it wasn’t a surprise. But as you also know, it’s taken much longer than expected to make this move happen, and in our rush to wrap it up and get the episodes into Howl ad-free, we clearly missed some important steps.

Others -- you guys, Scott, our former CEO Adam -- have discussed here and elsewhere the value of putting the ad-free archives into Howl, and I’m not going to revisit that debate (other than to confirm that yes, revenue from Howl and Stitcher Premium is shared with our hosts). Regardless of where you stand on that issue, we made a promise to communicate and we failed to keep it. That’s not acceptable.

To reinforce that commitment, we have decided, based on your feedback, to leave more episodes of Earwolf shows available for free. In addition to continuing to distribute all episodes six months old or newer via iTunes, Stitcher, RSS, and other ad-supported channels, we’ll keep a curated set of some older episodes in each show’s feed. You rightly pointed out that part of what helps people discover and come to love our shows is having some historical material to dig into, and we think we can do that while still preserving the value of access to the full, ad-free archive in our premium products. We’ll need a little time to finalize this and make it happen, but we’re working on it.

Finally, we know some of you are frustrated with the Howl app experience, particularly on Android. We hear you. We’ve now made all Howl premium content available within (the recently soft-launched) Stitcher Premium service as well. If you prefer the Stitcher app experience, our customer service team can help you move over.

Part of what made me want to join Earwolf many moons ago was Jeff U.’s transparent and honest approach to communicating with all of you, the fans who make this company possible. I think we’ve been lax in maintaining that approach, and I personally commit to doing better. We do listen to all of you, and whether through social media or Shannon or the hosts, we will make sure we talk to you a little more, too.

Thanks for listening.

--Erik

#2 mduncan55

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 12:07 AM

I'm sorry, but this is disgusting. These podcasts were designed to be free, with ads within the podcasts themselves. If you feel like getting greedy, then create new podcasts to charge people money for rather than taking the ones that were designed to be shared free and making people pay to listen to them.
I have zero doubt that it will be a matter of mere days before these podcasts are being provided for free elsewhere, and I will be listening to them guilt free, as that was the intention of the hosts, engineers, and producers that created them. I hope you make some decent money from your new arrangement, because your listenership is about to crash into the basement.

#3 ZARATHUSTRA

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 05:20 AM

I don't agree fully with the hate, I appreciate that these are free podcasts and even with advertisements someone has to pay for everything. For regular listeners like myself this won't change much apart from keeping the episodes I download. The concern is more for new listeners. If you just discovered CBB or HDTGM or something you'd want to go back and listen to understand in-jokes and catch up on all the content already there. That's the first thing I did. I don't think a new listener is going to do that if there's a paywall. So its just punishing the new people and that's bad business. Plus this is 2017. Someone will put it on youtube or someplace else. I just don't see how this makes sense financially or for the listeners.

Also please put the missing episodes of Jeff Garlin's show back up. I have no idea why half of them were taken down a year or so ago.
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#4 Kickpuncher

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 05:46 AM

Did anyone else know that Earwolf had a new CEO?

#5 BlankBlankBlank

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 06:31 AM

View PostKickpuncher, on 06 January 2017 - 05:46 AM, said:

Did anyone else know that Earwolf had a new CEO?


I think I did, but is this another new one?

#6 mduncan55

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 07:06 AM

View PostZARATHUSTRA, on 06 January 2017 - 05:20 AM, said:

I just don't see how this makes sense financially or for the listeners.


I also don't see how this doesn't cause lower ad revenues. I honestly don't see how companies like Audible or Square Space are going to pay the same amount for their ad to run on an episode for 6 months as they do for one that runs for years on end, which is what they used to have here (and I'm sure they're pleased that that was changed after they already paid for it) and which they do with many podcasts and YouTubers elsewhere. Spending their ad money on an Earwolf show suddenly doesn't make as much sense any more.

Also there's the issue of fan donations. For years fans have donated to different shows, tossing in hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a week with the promise of keeping the Earworlf Network and the shows on in free for everyone. One of the biggest ones was Professor Blastoff, where every week they would call out a few people for donating $100 or more. And that's a show that you cannot listen to a single episode of for free any more, even for those that spent their hard earned money on it to keep it free. Again, such a slimy move by the company and the people running it.

#7 Kickpuncher

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 08:25 AM

View Postmduncan55, on 06 January 2017 - 07:06 AM, said:


I also don't see how this doesn't cause lower ad revenues. I honestly don't see how companies like Audible or Square Space are going to pay the same amount for their ad to run on an episode for 6 months as they do for one that runs for years on end, which is what they used to have here (and I'm sure they're pleased that that was changed after they already paid for it) and which they do with many podcasts and YouTubers elsewhere. Spending their ad money on an Earwolf show suddenly doesn't make as much sense any more.



I'm sure they have data showing when people listen to the shows, and presumably this isn't a big consideration if the vast majority of listens are within the first six months (in fact, I'd guess that the vast majority are within the first week). Also, most of the ads (or at least the details about products, offer codes, etc.) aren't "evergreen", so the value becomes limited after a time even if a lot of people are hearing them. I'm not a fan of this overall model, but I'm not shedding any tears for the sponsors.

#8 Shannon

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 09:57 AM

View PostZARATHUSTRA, on 06 January 2017 - 05:20 AM, said:

Also please put the missing episodes of Jeff Garlin's show back up. I have no idea why half of them were taken down a year or so ago.


Jeff Garlin asked for those episodes to be removed. So they won't be coming back. Sorry :(
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#9 Resv

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 10:22 AM

This will probably get me kicked out of these forums but in all honesty any episode you want to listen to from most of these podcasts are probably available somewhere online. Just go out and steal them. iHeart Radio has lots of available episodes for may of the most popular Earwolf programs. Because, and I mean this with all the love in my heart, fuck Earwolf.

Sorry guys, this just feels like a dick move. As ErikD said, the debate about this has already happened and they are unlikely to roll this back. So, instead of spending 5 bucks a month, just go out and steal older episodes.

#10 eLIZamuffins

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 12:46 PM

Podcasts are not a right, get over it. If you don't want to pay then don't.

Suggesting people STEAL them instead of pay is crappy. People literally WORK to bring us this entertainment and you are in a friggin tizzy they want to maybe MAKE money? Tell me how many hours you work for totally free? We get 24 free eps PER POD available at any given time.

I will tell you how much I give away for free at my job.....ZIP ZILCH ZERO.

Earwolf has been my #1 source of comedy for over 5 years and I don't want podcasts to be a fad that dies out because they are not profitable.

Not that anyone cares what I think but I have imposed it on you because Earwolf has graciously offered me that platform FREE OF CHARGE.
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#11 mduncan55

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 01:35 PM

View PosteLIZamuffins, on 06 January 2017 - 12:46 PM, said:

Podcasts are not a right, get over it. If you don't want to pay then don't.

Suggesting people STEAL them instead of pay is crappy. People literally WORK to bring us this entertainment and you are in a friggin tizzy they want to maybe MAKE money? Tell me how many hours you work for totally free? We get 24 free eps PER POD available at any given time.

I will tell you how much I give away for free at my job.....ZIP ZILCH ZERO.

Earwolf has been my #1 source of comedy for over 5 years and I don't want podcasts to be a fad that dies out because they are not profitable.

Not that anyone cares what I think but I have imposed it on you because Earwolf has graciously offered me that platform FREE OF CHARGE.


No, the people that made the podcasts did so with the expressed purpose that their fans be able to listen to them for free. It is the management that are getting greedy and want free money for things that they've already been paid for in terms of both donations and ads.

#12 Fister Roboto

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 01:40 PM

View Postmduncan55, on 06 January 2017 - 07:06 AM, said:


I also don't see how this doesn't cause lower ad revenues. I honestly don't see how companies like Audible or Square Space are going to pay the same amount for their ad to run on an episode for 6 months as they do for one that runs for years on end, which is what they used to have here (and I'm sure they're pleased that that was changed after they already paid for it) and which they do with many podcasts and YouTubers elsewhere. Spending their ad money on an Earwolf show suddenly doesn't make as much sense any more.



Because that's not how advertising works. They probably pay under a CPM model, which means that they pay $X for up to Y impressions (people reached by the ad's message). This is how most advertising is managed. This is the main reason that podcast audience is so important. The higher the number of listeners, the higher the impressions.

You also generally run ads for specified amounts of time. Notice how you don't see McDonald's commercials from 1960 anymore? That's because McDonald's said, "We're going to run this ad at a cost of $X CPM from this date to this other date." They MIGHT pay an additional fee for staying in the episode in perpetuity, but probably not. Think of how many promos are advertised that are no longer relevant in those ads or how many advertisers no longer advertise on Earwolf; their ads didn't just go away from old eps when they ended their partnership.

The fact is, even if they are paying for their ads to be in old episodes, I would guarantee that ad revenue largely comes from new episodes because they are listened to exponentially more than episodes that have been sitting around for several years. So, even if they lose the money they were theoretically charging for old ads, they would be gaining considerably more under the new plan.

View Postmduncan55, on 06 January 2017 - 01:35 PM, said:


No, the people that made the podcasts did so with the expressed purpose that their fans be able to listen to them for free.

You keep repeating this as if it's fact. Do you have record of this "expressed purpose?" I've never heard it before, so I'd be curious to read or hear where you got that information.
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#13 mduncan55

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:01 PM

View PostFister Roboto, on 06 January 2017 - 01:40 PM, said:

You keep repeating this as if it's fact. Do you have record of this "expressed purpose?" I've never heard it before, so I'd be curious to read or hear where you got that information.


Listen to pretty much any podcast. If they ask for donations, or (more often) are doing their ads and they tell you to go to the sites and use the promo codes because that keeps the podcasts free for everyone. Listen to just about any episode of Professor Blastoff and they talked many times about how they happily do them for free because they love bringing content to the fans and find it a great way to interact with their audience, and that is creates more opportunities for them with their comedy. Even when they did live shows they didn't charge for them because they never wanted there to be a paywall between the show and their audience. Maybe it's because that show is so beloved by me, and the fact that they perverted the wishes of the hosts that I am so angry about this BS.

#14 reggaechristmas

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:22 PM

Professor Blastoff also ended when they had paying opportunities. Who Charted seemed like it was on the brink of ending when Bajillion started up. People whined about them selling out on these forums.

#15 StickyKeys

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:28 PM

I agree that most podcasts are meant to be free. NPR doesn't charge, neither does loudspeakers or just about any other podcasting network. It's something I've side-eyed earwolf about for a long time. They will monetize literally everything and while I'm not against it, I also hate the idea it's normal.

And the thing Fister Roboto said about advertising is correct, it's one of the reasons the promo codes are constantly changing.

#16 mduncan55

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:29 PM

View Postreggaechristmas, on 06 January 2017 - 02:22 PM, said:

Professor Blastoff also ended when they had paying opportunities. Who Charted seemed like it was on the brink of ending when Bajillion started up. People whined about them selling out on these forums.


Blastoff ended because they became too busy with the rest of their lives to be able to meet and create a weekly podcast. And it was a struggle for them to do so for a large part of the time that the show was airing. That doesn't change what the show was or what the intention of the creators was. They spoke about the fact that they probably could have kept going with a paid model, but that was not what they wanted for the show or their fans.

#17 BlankBlankBlank

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 03:43 PM

View PostStickyKeys, on 06 January 2017 - 02:28 PM, said:

I agree that most podcasts are meant to be free. NPR doesn't charge, neither does loudspeakers or just about any other podcasting network. It's something I've side-eyed earwolf about for a long time. They will monetize literally everything and while I'm not against it, I also hate the idea it's normal.

And the thing Fister Roboto said about advertising is correct, it's one of the reasons the promo codes are constantly changing.


NPR podcasts hosts are paid by NPR.

#18 BlankBlankBlank

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 03:45 PM

View PosteLIZamuffins, on 06 January 2017 - 12:46 PM, said:

Podcasts are not a right, get over it. If you don't want to pay then don't.

Suggesting people STEAL them instead of pay is crappy. People literally WORK to bring us this entertainment and you are in a friggin tizzy they want to maybe MAKE money? Tell me how many hours you work for totally free? We get 24 free eps PER POD available at any given time.

I will tell you how much I give away for free at my job.....ZIP ZILCH ZERO.

Earwolf has been my #1 source of comedy for over 5 years and I don't want podcasts to be a fad that dies out because they are not profitable.

Not that anyone cares what I think but I have imposed it on you because Earwolf has graciously offered me that platform FREE OF CHARGE.


Could not agree more.

#19 NundercoverBrother

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 04:34 PM

The other alternative which I dont think has been brought up is, they could just take them down altogether after 6 months - never to be heard again.
And no one is making anyone pay for anything they dont want to pay for already.

#20 Kickpuncher

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 04:56 PM

View PostLuke HENDERSON!, on 06 January 2017 - 03:43 PM, said:


NPR podcasts hosts are paid by NPR.


Also, NPR isn't really a podcast network, it's a radio network that also releases their shows as podcasts, which is a fundamentally different model.

Also, it's a non-profit.