Gushcloud eyes podcast ad dollars with 'The Backstage Bunch'

Digital talent and marketing agency Gushcloud has launched a new content channel on YouTube titled The Backstage Bunch. The YouTube channel focuses on building up the next generation of talkshow and podcast show hosts, and will be dedicated to producing shows that are contain “raw and honest” opinions of the world today. Although one of the key focuses of The Backstage Bunch is to develop the podcast industry in Singapore, the channel is launched on YouTube because the selected influencers are more well-known in the YouTube community. It is also because YouTube is still the platform of choice for Singaporeans to consume mid-form content within the 12 minutes range.

In a conversation with Marketing, Rachel Ong, country director of Gushcloud Singapore, said the objective of the channel is to provide a platform for Gushcloud to work with independent creative producers to produce more content targeting the Millennial and Gen Z audience. Additionally, the digital talent agency looks to use the platform as a launchpad to introduce more of its talents and help them gain more exposure in the industry. With the launch of the channel, Gushcloud is looking to increase its content inventory for more advertising and sponsor opportunities. It will also allow its account managers to reach out to more brands under its roster for more collaborative efforts.

According to Ong, Gushcloud is have been approached by clients from government and statutory boards for its content channel. At the same time, FMCG brands have also expressed their interest. Currently, the channel has closed one major campaign. Gushcloud said it hopes to onboard more clients that have a message that they would like to promote to the Millennial and Gen Z generation. It could also be a topic where they would like to listen to honest opinions about and to encourage discussions after.

Although unable to reveal the exact amount, Ong said the agency has invested five figures into The Backstage Bunch. For now, it is allowing the producers and crew to promote the show in their own ways. However, moving forward, it will be looking deeper at collaboration opportunities with its talents from other countries such as America, Korea, and Indonesia, so it can grow the show beyond Singapore. Episodes are currently being uploaded one every two weeks. 

She also added that there are plans to bring on other show series besides “Just Saying”, which will involve other creative producers and Gushcloud talents. However, these show series will need to have both an audio and visual capability as the agency is exploring the podcast medium.

"The Backstage Bunch" is not Gushcloud's first attempt to diversify its content. Earlier in May, Gushcloud saw the shift to eCommerce and live-streaming, and jumped at the opportunity to launch live commerce projects with its talents Nurul Aini and Eunice Annabel Lim. According to Gushcloud, over SG$3,500 worth of transactions was generated from the pilot episodes of "Life with Nurul Aini" and "Good Vibes with Eunice Annabel" in total, with each session lasting under an hour.

Gushcloud's foray into the podcast industry comes as podcasting gains popularity in recent years. According to a study done by Deloitte in 2019, the global podcasting market is predicted to increase by 30% to reach US$1.1 billion in 2020. It is added that if future growth remains as high as in the past few years, podcasts could amount to be a US$3.3 billion-plus business by 2025.

Separately, in a study done by IAB in July 2020, the podcast advertising revenue in the United States is expected to grow by 14.7% despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also found the US podcast advertising revenue was valued at US$708 million in 2019, seeing a 48% increase since 2018.

According to IAB, podcast advertising is considered more resistant than other media against COVID-19. The channel’s agile and flexible format enables a quick shifting of ad messaging, and the news genre is also seeing greater adoption by consumers in 2020.

The rising prominence in podcasting can also be seen by Spotify’s bullish efforts in pushing partnerships deals for its podcasting segment.

The audio-streaming app has recently signed on exclusive podcast series with Michelle Obama, which boasts well-known personalities such as Craig Robinson, Valerie Jarett, Conan O’Brien, and Michele Norris as guest speakers. It also partnered with esports company Riot Games to launch several new League of Legends podcasts. According to a press release, Spotify is also the official and exclusive audio-streaming partner for League of Legends' global events.

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