Join the Network

Podcasters welcome at P.E.N.

Now is the Best Time to Bring Your Show to the
Podcast Entertainment Network

Overview of the Network model with P.E.N.

  • You retain the rights to your show. If you leave the network, you take your content with you. And, you can leave any time (with 30 days notice)

  • No costs to you for joining or being a part of the network

  • Keep 100% of revenue from any current advertisers you have before joining the network

  • Revenue sharing for new advertising, with largest share going to podcaster, and dedicated marketing budget to help grow the show

  • You focus on creating compelling content…the network handles commercials, intros, segues, and credits, to provide a consistent listening experience across the network

  • Network ensures professional-sounding audio, including editing, engineering, and mastering

  • Rise above the crowded podcast marketplace through network effects, including brand recognition and cross-promotion on other network shows

  • Professional targeted marketing to attract new listeners to the show

  • Significant benefits begin on Day One of joining the network (see below)

  • Assistance in booking guests, research, best practices, production templates and other items to help make the show compelling to listeners

  • Mentorship and advice from experienced radio/podcasting industry professionals

  • Advertiser-friendly consistency across the network, enhancing the show’s brand appeal

  • Keep 100% of any gratuities you receive (e.g. Patreon, ByMeACoffee)

Benefits begin immediately when a show joins the Network

Audio Engineering

Professional production quality for a consistent listener experience across all PEN shows while you focus on quality content.

Professional Intros/Outros

Sourcing audio talent globally to provide just the right voice to complement your show with segues into and out of breaks.

Listings on 19 Directories

We list the show not just in the "Big" directories. We post it everywhere so listeners can find it wherever they may be.

Audio Mastering

Engineers stitch all the component parts into one seamless episode, see the "Anatomy of a Podcast Episode" below.

Episode Hosting/Distribution

The network hosts each episode for fast & easy distribution. Your current show feed migrates without losing any listeners.

Tools to Help Create Episodes

Professionally designed tools & templates to help make your job easier. Use them if you like or modify to best suit your process.

Logo/Branding Consistency

Show logo/branding that's flexible yet complementary across the network, facilitating listener brand recognition.

Workflows with Task Dependencies

Online workflow tools with dependent tasks aid in workflow eases production and ensures nothing slips through the cracks.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Being part of the network helps your show stand out among the over 2 million podcasts already competing for attention.

Social Media Promotion

Every show and episode fully promoted across social channels using automated and human processes for maximum effectiveness.

Cross-Promotion Across Network

Each show helps promote the others, exposing listeners of one show to others, expanding the audience for every show.

Promotion on the PEN Website

Show info, host bio, and every episode are included on the network website...as people browse they organically find your show.

Show Merchandise Store

From Day One your show is included in the PEN Merch Store, with over 25 items available for fans of the show.

Guest Booking Assistance

Popular guests can "make" a show. We utilize network credibility to help book desirable guests, and book you on other shows.

PEN Listener Club

Affinity program for PEN listeners, with special promotions and access, creating advocates for shows across the network.

PEN Listener Hotline

800 number for listeners to get in touch with the show, with messages forwarded via email and digitally recorded for use on the show.

Advice & Mentorship

Access to radio/podcasting industry professionals if you have any questions or need a sounding board.

Podcast Analytics

Comprehensive analytics provided in easily understood format to glean insights from listener behaviors and demographics.

Keep 100% of Gratuities

You keep 100% of any listener tips, every penny. Whether Patreon or BuyMeACoffee, it's all yours.

Sharing Best Practices

Network-wide Slack channel puts you in touch with professionals and other show hosts to learn what's working and where to improve.

Keep Your Existing Advertisers

You keep 100% of the revenue from all your advertisers who were part of your show before joining the network.

Brand-Friendly Standards

Each host commits to the Personal Conduct Policy to ensure every show remains "brand friendly" without negative risks.

Independent Auditing of Financials

Revenue sharing requires trust, but it also makes sense to verify, so an independent auditor verifies all financial dealings.

Back-Office Services

We handle all the invoicing, receivables, and collections so, again, you're free to focus your energies on making a great show!

Publish to Smart Speakers

All PEN podcasts are published to smart speakers, so just ask Alexa or Google to play your favorite PEN show!

Advertising Sales Kit

For many brands, a professional sales kit and rate card are requirements for placing their ads. We've got you covered.

Targeted Marketing to Grow Show

We utilize the marketing rev share to reach only those listeners most likely to reach your show using all available targeting.

Collaboration for Success

Our interests are aligned with yours - working together to grow the listener base, attract advertisers, and deliver compelling content!

50% of podcast listeners would listen to more shows if the shows they were interested in were easier to find

Creating Multiple Revenue Streams

PEN looks to cultivate additional revenue streams beyond just 30-second commercial placements. As the listener base grows for a show these additional revenue streams become feasible. Most importantly, each of these revenue streams participate in the revenue-sharing model pursuant to the terms of the partnership among the Podcaster and the Network.

Traditional Commercials

15- and 30-second live reads and pre-recorded spots will continue an important role in podcast advertising. While the listener base is small, we may use 3rd parties to help ad fill rates supplementing our Ad Sales Team. A great benefit of the Network is brands can advertise across shows...so you don't need a huge listener base for your show alone.

Sponsorships

Similar to traditional commercials, brands reach listeners with their message. Different, in that it's more subtle, good for reinforcing other advertising. We provide segment sponsors, bit sponsors, studio sponsors, and even full-show. Think "This Day in History, brought to you by Geico" or "The Great Day Today podcast from the Pepsi studio."

Subscription-Based Shows and Premium Episodes

Some shows might make sense to be subscription-based, where customers pay to listen. Other shows may be "traditional" but then also offer a paid, "Premium" episode with special guests or for a special event. Sponsor revenue may still work for these shows too.

Merchandise Store

On Day One we add your show to the PEN Merch Store, powered by Threadless. Listeners can order over 25 products featuring the show logo. Nearly every week there is a special discount you can offer your listeners, and, like each of the revenue streams, the rev-share applies to Merch Store purchases.

Endorsements

Different from Live Reads, Endorsements imply the host recommends a product. In addition to the ad placement, the brand pays a fee for the endorsement itself. Think along the lines of "I sleep on a Casper mattress and it's the best sleep I've ever gotten." A large and loyal listener base helps get endorsement deals.

Events & Appearances

A great way to create show ambassadors and influencers is through events and appearances. The Network helps achieve this goal through networking and working with both brands and event planners. Paid appearances supplement revenue while rallying enthusiasm for the show.

No Risk - leave the network at any time, and your show content stays with you.

The Big Question - How Does the Money Work?

The Network operates using a revenue sharing model, with the Podcaster receiving the largest share of revenues. Several streams of revenue are possible (see above) and each utilizes the revenue sharing model.

Part of the revenue sharing includes investment in a dedicated budget to promote the show. Marketing the show is vital to increasing the listener base, which attracts more advertisers, which drives both more revenue and even more listeners, in a virtuous growth cycle.

If you have any existing advertisers when joining the Network, they can continue advertising on the show, and you keep 100% of that revenue.

All revenue streams are audited by an independent third party so you can be assured the money is handled properly.

Shows joining the network at this time receive 50% of the revenue share, with an additional 20% invested in promotion. It is envisioned that as the Network continues to grow, new shows joining – not those who join now – will receive a slightly smaller share, as the value of any one additional show is smaller in context with the larger Network. In other words, now is the best time to join the Network!

2,000,000

existing podcasts

48,000,000

existing episodes

How will your show stand above the crowd?

Metcalfe's Law (modified) - Powerful Network Effect

The Network Effect – the power of the network grows exponentially with each additional node on the network. Or, modified for our context, the podcasting network grows stronger with each additional show. Network shows reinforce each other, promote each other, and benefit each other.

Consistent branding helps listeners recognize PEN shows. Consistent audio engineering/mastering sets expectations with the listener that the shows are of the highest quality.

Advertisers find numerous opportunities for commercials and sponsorships in one place, safe in the belief that each network show adheres to standards which ensure brand safety.

The Network Effect also increases over time. Brand recognition grows. Advertiser awareness grows. More listeners lead to more word-of-mouth organic growth. It’s how Facebook expanded beyond Harvard, then Cambridge, then the world. 

Awareness leads to expansion. Expansion not only leads to greater revenues, but also to better guest bookings. Guest bookings drive even more listeners. These elements all combine into a virtuous cycle that amplify over time into a forceful Network Effect. 

You focus on creating compelling content...we handle the rest

The PEN approach to mastering podcast episodes allows you to focus on the most important part – creating compelling content – while we handle the rest. We do this to provide a consistent user experience for the listeners. They know it’s a high-quality production when it comes from PEN.

Publishing each episode simply involves submitting each episode segment. We then provide the intro music, transitions into and out of commercial breaks, the commercials themselves, the show credits/disclaimers, and out music.

Of course, you’ll know each of these supporting elements for the episode so the collaboration is seamless…all while allowing you to focus on the most valuable – and interesting – part of doing a show!

62%

<--- 62% of podcast listeners discover new podcasts from recommendations by other podcast hosts

54% of podcast listeners discover new podcasts from ads on other podcasts -->

54%

Source: Edison Research, The Infinite Dial Report 2019

Steps to Joining the Network

It’s easy to join, but we should both be deliberate in making such an important decision. If you like what you’ve read so far, let’s talk. Then if there’s mutual interest, we’ll get into the details and get started prepping the show for launch and beginning our path towards more listeners, greater revenues, and an exciting journey!

Download a PDF with info on Why You Should Join the Network

$2.2 Billion

PwC forecasts podcast advertising to more than double in the next 2 years, from the over $1 Billion in 2021 to $2.2 Billion in 2023. Wouldn't you like some of that extra $1.2 Billion?

FAQs - Here to answer all of your questions about joining the Network

Two reasons, really. One is to provide a consistent listening experience across the Network, so each show feels “familiar” to the listener. Radio shows and podcasts have loyal listener bases because of familiarity. The other reason is so we can do all we can to make it easy on the Podcaster to focus on creating great content. All the effort in the world to attract and retain listeners isn’t going to work unless the content is great.

Largely, the answer is “no.” It’s your show. But, to ensure consistency and an advertiser-friendly environment, each host is required to adhere to a Personal Conduct Policy. You wouldn’t want a different show damaging your show’s brand, and neither do we. This isn’t the place for conspiracy theories, misogyny, racism, or amateur medical advice. 

Beyond the Personal Conduct Policy, Network producers and mentors may make recommendations for the show or make guests available, but it’s your call whether to incorporate this into the show.

No. We will seamlessly transition the show to our hosting platform, with a redirect from your prior feed so the current listeners won’t be forced to re-subscribe.

They stay with the show for as long as you and they want to. And, you keep 100% of the revenue from all advertisers who were already part of the show.

Sure you can, so long as it isn’t confusing to listeners of other Network shows. We try to make sure there is space for a show to grow, without a different show overlapping with their format-content combination. At this early stage, it’s very likely your current show name is just fine.

Mostly the logo can remain unchanged. One of the benefits of the Network is brand recognition among potential listeners, so we’ll recommend an unobtrusive footer indicating the network affiliation. The footer iconography will be in colors complementing the design. We may also make recommendations for how the artwork can stand out and be more memorable for listeners, collaborating with you on whether to incorporate the suggestions.

The biggest risks are really risks to the show, whether it’s part of the Network or not. If the content isn’t interesting, the Network isn’t going to be able to save it. So, if you’ve got a niche passion that has a minimal potential audience, it isn’t going to succeed. Similarly, if episodes aren’t created in a timely, consistent manner, the listeners are going to move on and the show will not succeed. This is the single biggest limiting factor to show success – the inability to adhere to an episode schedule.

Good for you! We love that you dream big. Since our interests are aligned, we’ll do all we can to help you reach the top of the charts. At that point, when advertisers are beating down the door to be a part of the show, you probably don’t need the Network. You’re free to go (with 30 days notice), can take the archived content with you, and we’ll buy the champagne to celebrate the success, happy knowing we played a part in helping you achieve your goals!

It doesn’t cost you anything to join that you’re not already spending to produce your show. And, it can even cost you less, since we handle hosting, distribution, engineering, and more. You may already be paying a co-host, for studio access, or equipment. Those costs will continue, unless you can take advantage of any Network resources available. You will not have to make any payments to the Network.

There are currently over 40 shows either “live” or “in development.” Some of these are actively looking for hosts. The vision for the Network, protected by copyright, is to have a “Show for Every Interest.” There is probably plenty of room for your show in a wide breadth of pop culture, movies, music, television, sports, business, politics, and more.

Beyond the show topic, what we’re really looking for are compelling hosts who keep an audience engaged. They’re called “Talent” for a reason.

If you’ve read through the info here and are feeling comfortable, let’s schedule a call to get to know each other. We’ll prep for the call by listening to an episode or a demo of the show. If there’s mutual interest, we’ll get the contract signed, develop a show schedule, and prep for launch. We request having 3 episodes “in the can” prior to launch, so start to think about your topics for these first 3 episodes!

Since one of the main goals is to attract advertisers, it’s imperative that each show conducts itself with a level of professionalism and in a manner such that advertisers feel comfortable. All advertisers. It doesn’t mean we’re prudes, or there’s no profanity allowed. It simply means that your conduct shouldn’t alienate advertisers nor position the show such that a brand wouldn’t want to partner with it. Similarly, the Network and each of the shows has an obligation to one another not to damage any of our brand reputations. You wouldn’t want the conduct of a different Network show hurting your show, nor would they. So, we all conduct ourselves in a way that we trust each other, brands feel comfortable, and we all prosper together.

We’re really just getting started. We’ve spent the better part of two years putting the infrastructure together, creating templates, and defining processes so that each show hits the ground running. Now it’s time to run. 

Not really. We believe the model we’ve put in place is extraordinarily fair and beneficial to the Podcaster. Whenever we discussed a specific item our guidepost has been “what’s the absolute most we can do to help the Podcaster while still making it work for the Network.” Most importantly, we don’t want to create an environment with infighting among the shows because someone got better terms than someone else.

That said, if you have a suggestion to change something, we’re all ears. Our paradigm for considering it is whether it works not just for the Network but for all the other shows as well. If a change is agreed to, it will ripple through the contracts for other shows as well to maintain that consistency.

A lot! First, there’s a dedicated promotion budget from the rev-share. Right now these funds go into targeted, digital marketing aimed at people most likely to be interested in the show. At the early stage, we’re looking for the low-hanging fruit – people who already listen to podcasts regularly who best align demographically with your show. Further, we can target people based on their interests, so if your show focuses on rebuilding cars, we’re going to initially constrain marketing efforts to car enthusiasts, in the age/income brackets for the target audience, who already regularly listen to podcasts. Think of it as concentric circles, where we go for the bulls-eye first, then expand as the show grows.

Beyond the rev-share funds, your show will be promoted on other shows, through social media, press contacts, the PEN website, and as many podcast directories as we can find (19 currently!). And, as warranted, we’ll offer to book you as a guest on other shows as a great way to introduce you and the show to the other show’s audience. In short, everything we can to help promote the show. As the Network’s interests are aligned with yours, we both win by helping to grow the show!

Only if you want listeners, and the advertisers who want to reach them. A report from Edison Research shows that 62% of podcast listeners found new shows to listen to from recommendations of other podcast hosts. This is the Network Effect in action – “I like Show Host A, she says she likes Show B, so I checked it out, and I like it to.” Further, 66% say they discover pods from friends/family. Now this listener tells another, and so on…all because the first Show Host recommended it. That’s the beauty of the Network!

Indeed there are, and we encourage you to look around and make an informed decision. Two big differences we’ll highlight: nearly every “network” requires you to already have a substantial listener base, usually 10,000 per episode. Instead, we’re going to grow with you. Another big difference is in the definition of “network” itself. All of the others, and we do mean “all,” are simply a collection of shows, without any cross-network involvement. It’s a collection of individuals, not a team. And we’ve all seen enough from the sports world which is more successful. That said, please do look around. The more you do, the more confident you’ll be in joining us.

Absolutely! Tell us what you’d like. Maybe a show catchphrase, or maybe something funny/memorable from an episode. Whatever you’d like, so long as it’s consistent with the brand-friendly image of the network and the other shows.

Great question. Success is hard, and certainly not guaranteed. But, we’re in this together, so the first thing we’re going to do is try to make it successful. We have professional radio/podcasting personalities on staff who can mentor shows. Our producers may have ideas on how to best structure shows to be interesting to listeners. We’ll make recommendations, you choose what to try. Remember, if you don’t make money we don’t either, so it’s in both our interests to do our best.

That said, it may not thrive. If so, no hard feelings. We shake hands and wish each other the best. There is no recourse or money owed because of missing any goals.

It’s about managing listener expectations. The worst thing a podcast can do is not be true to listener expectations. If an absence is planned, such as a holiday break or summer vacation, we set the listener’s expectations accordingly. We also have each show record 3 “evergreen” episodes that can be used to fill in an unexpected gap. Then, if the episode frequency needs to be adjusted, we should set the listener expectations as such. Maybe the show is better just twice a month. 

Simply, we don’t. We don’t make any money unless and until you do. There is no secret revenue stream. Our vision is that the monies earned from the established shows allows us to invest the time and energy in nurturing the newer shows.

Yes, you keep all gratuity-like listener donations, like Patreon. For one, there isn’t a straightforward way to account for them. More importantly, they don’t fit into the brand image of the network. We do ask that you limit such solicitations to at most twice per episode and make sure it doesn’t interfere with the ability to attract sponsors and advertisers.

We plan for about 6 weeks, though it can be sooner. It’s about the listeners, so we recommend teasing a big announcement, then making the announcement, then going live with the first network episode. We also want to be sure there are evergreen episodes as backup so you’ll have your regular release schedule and be recording the episodes to have “in the can”, which takes some time. That said, we’ll work with you on the best timing.

Thank you for considering the Podcast Entertainment Network...we look forward to working with you!

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