Here at entertainment.ie we love podcasts, we *blatant plug* even make our own. We listen to so many that it's tough to find time to even talk to each other, and when we do, it's generally about what we've just listened to.
Whether you're at the gym, cooking dinner, stuck on a bus, or maybe you're one of those people who simply like to sit around and pay 100% attention to the show (weirdos....we're kidding, kind of), they're just a great way to pass the time, keep you entertained, and maybe even teach you a thing or two in the process.
There's only one problem with them, they make F-all money. Sure, the bigger shows with one or two well-known hosts can make a living off of them, but generally speaking the lesser-downloaded podcasts are forced to riddle their episodes with sporadic, generic adverts just to make the endeavour financially feasible.
A couple of ads, what's the problem with that? Well it ruins the flow of shows, and reminds you that you're listening to a product, often dragging you out of your immersed state by the ear, literally. It's been a problem we've have to endure for too long, but thankfully there could be light at the end of the tunnel in the form of Wolf, the supposed Netflix of podcasting.
Midroll are an advertisement company that supply on-air adverts to the likes of Marc Maron, Colt Cabana, Comedy Bang Bang, and Doug Loves Movies. They currently supply over 200 podcasts with adverts, which is why you constantly hear the same things popping up on every show. Yes, we're looking at you LegalZoom and SquareSpace.
The company is also the owner of comedy podcast network Earwolf, as well as its pop culture cousin, Wolfpop, and now they're looking to create a Netlfix-like hub for podcasts, Howl.
Howl will host all of the podcasts currently on Earwolf and Wolfpop, the recently acquired WTF with Marc Maron, and will be launching 11 more original podcasts in the coming months. For the premium subscription, which will cost you $5 a month, you'll have access to the entire back catalogue of these shows, a vast library of Comedy Central stand-up specials, behind-the-scenes photos, and host commentary from the episodes. Sounds pretty great to us, but what makes it all the better is the fact that you can have all of this without having to endure a single advert.
Is it perfect? Of course not. You'll be paying $5 dollars a month and won't have access to everything you want, but the same can still be said for Netflix, and even that wasn't always the behemoth it is today. The idea being that Howl should grow, add more podcasts, and allow podcasters to create original content that isn't just your standard chat show. A place you can get everything you need from your podcasts, minus the advertising, the breaks, the awkwardness, and where the people who provide us with the audio actually get paid reasonable sums.
The only problem? We'll have to pay for it, and unfortunately that, unlike subscribing to video streaming sites, isn't something the majority of people have come around to doing as of yet. But with Spotify supposedly going all-premium next year, and the music industry trying harder than ever to monetise the content it's producing, this could be about to change. Will it? Maybe, maybe not.
The cynic in me says probably not, because much like how many people would currently rather sit through the ads on Spotify than stump up the cash for the extra quality, they'll simply do the same with podcasts. Realistically it's too early to tell, but Wolf certainly seems like a step in the right direction.