Sponsorship Openings and The Talk Show Remote From WWDC 2020

Next week is WWDC, and, as I’ll bet you know, during WWDC I usually do a special episode of The Talk Show in front of a live audience with one or more special guests joining me on stage. Needless to say, there’s nothing usual about this entire year, or this year’s WWDC. But I’m happy to announce that there is going to be a special episode of the show, and, if I do say so myself, I think it is going to be pretty good.

No audience, of course. I’m not leaving the house. But one or more (socially distant) special guests? Yes. Who? Special. Guests.

Not just audio, either, but video — a real show to watch, conducted remotely. Not broadcast live, but, you know, live on tape. (But not on actual tape.) The traditional schedule is to hold the live show on Tuesday evening, West coast time, and we’re shooting for a similar schedule for the release of this year’s show. I’d say more but I can’t. Yet.

But there’s this: sponsorship openings for the show. Sponsorship-wise, this show gets the biggest audience and is the highest profile thing I do each year. It’s the highlight of the Daring Fireball calendar. Sponsors get a mention up front, a title card in the credits, and a thank-you at the end. And the audio from the show goes into the regular podcast feed as a regular episode of The Talk Show. Check out last year’s show for how it looks and sounds.

If you have a product or service you’d love to get in front of the biggest Daring Fireball audience of the year, send me an email. I’ll be working all weekend.

Speaking of sponsorships and advertising, you may also be aware that the whole global pandemic thing has, to say the least, not been good for the advertising market. Advertising is always the first budget to take a hit in a recession. That’s always been true, and I suspect always will be true, not matter how the advertising industry changes in terms of media and technology. So it goes.

I’m doing alright here at DF. But what’s a bit weird is that pre-pandemic, podcast spots on The Talk Show had been selling more strongly than the weekly sponsorships on the website, a trend that had been consistent for a while. Broadly, podcast ad spending had been growing, and web ad spending (outside the Facebook/Google duopoly) had been shrinking. Post-pandemic, though, that dynamic flipped around. Weekly spots here on DF are now selling out further ahead than podcast spots are.

My theory on why is that the weekly spots here at DF tend to sell to smaller indie-minded companies. The sponsors here on DF really know exactly what Daring Fireball is, who I am, who my audience is (people like you), and why DF’s sponsorships are a unique opportunity and a great value. Basically, web/RSS sponsorships at DF are fundamentally very different from typical web advertising. Try explaining to a mass market ad agency what an RSS sponsorship is, or why DF web ads don’t allow any sort of JavaScript tracking or cookies — trust me, it’s not easy.

Whereas sponsorships on The Talk Show are pretty typical for popular podcasts. It’s a standard format — me, the host, reading the spot. If you listen to more than a handful of podcasts you know that a lot of The Talk Show’s sponsors also sponsor a lot of other podcasts. And most of those sales go through agencies. That’s not good or bad, it just is the way it is. Everyone needs a mattress at some point.

Basically that means DF weekly sponsorships are more independent, almost a market unto itself,1 whereas The Talk Show sponsorships are much more a part of the general advertising market.

But so here’s the thing: I think the sort of smaller indie companies who sponsor the DF website are underrepresented as sponsors on The Talk Show. I would love to have more indies sponsoring the show. We’ve got more openings than usual for the summer (see above), so if you’re interested, get in touch with Jessie Char at Neat FM — she manages all the regular podcast spots for me, and we’re willing to sell spots to indies for less than the listed price.

Lastly, while weekly sponsorship sales here at DF are, as I mentioned, holding up, there are openings for July and all of August. Get in touch.

See you next week. Well, you’ll see me.

  1. This was very obvious back in the global recession of 2008-09 — DF sponsorship revenue actually rose significantly during that recession, because DF was more affected by the early go-go years of the iPhone and App Store than it was the broad mass market decline in ad spending. ↩︎