Will podcasting 2.0 be the next use case for the Lightning Network? The statement might induce skepticism, but Kevin Rooke presents a surprisingly good case. Prepare to receive the gas you needed to start your own podcast. The technology is just getting started, and the people are just getting comfortable with it. However, the logic behind Rooke’s argument stands.
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He starts with a statement that will surprise no one. “The Lightning Network’s architecture allows creators to earn directly from their biggest fans, in new ways that aren’t even possible on a fiat payment system.” That much we can admit. Also, closed platforms provide convenience and a sizable audience. However, “Apple takes a 30% fee on in-app payments, YouTube takes a 45% fee on ad revenues, and Facebook keeps all their ad revenue without paying their creators a penny.”
On the other hand, “Email, websites, podcasts, and Bitcoin are all examples of open platforms.” They don’t offer an already captive audience, but, “anyone to plug into fully-formed networks of content and users with full interoperability between competing products.” This helps a lot. However, creators using these open platforms, “still rely on closed monetization platforms like PayPal, Amazon Affiliates, Patreon, or Google Adsense to earn income.”
The Lightning Network Comes To Save The Day
You already know this, the Lightning Network allows for micropayments that are almost free. Anyone can use it, and it’s approaching mass adoption by the minute. “Not only can creators now plug into an open monetization platform with hundreds of millions of users, they can even access a new type of monetization that was never before possible.” Those new types are, “real-time payment streaming, micro-tipping, and other monetization strategies that simply aren’t possible on fiat payment rails.”
So far, so good. “Real-time payment streaming” via the Lightning Network is what Podcasting 2.0 is all about. However, it’s easy to miss why that is important. Crucial, even.
“Advertising is directly at odds with other monetization strategies like paid subscriptions. If only a small fraction of your listeners are willing to pay subscriptions for your content, any gains made from subscription revenues will cannibalize your ad revenue, as your total listeners fall by 95% or more.”
That’s the problem with Patreon or similar services. You can monetize your biggest fans’ support, sure, but advertisers won’t pay for that small audience. Podcasting 2.0 provides the best of both worlds.
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We’re Still Early. The Dawn Of Podcasting 2.0
Let’s check the stats out. That’s always fun.
“There are 4,434,920 RSS podcast feeds on the internet today, but only 2,947 of them are on Lightning today. Put another way, only 0.07% of all podcasts on the internet can earn Lightning tips right now.”
And, of course, only early adopters and people in El Salvador are using The Lightning Network. And from that group, only a few people will tip or pay in real-time for the content. However, “there is zero downside to enabling Lightning tips, and the upside can be a meaningful contribution to total revenue. It’s only a matter of time before the other 99.93% of podcasters figure this out.”
And that’s not all, the Lightning Network enables a type of interaction that was not possible for the podcasting medium. Creators can know the exact moment that their listeners decided to tip them.
“Podcasting 2.0 apps also let listeners send messages and tips to creators while listening to a show, providing direct feedback with timestamps attached to every comment. This innovation represents a shift to a more social podcasting experience.”
And ok, that feedback was already possible in YouTube livestreams. However, YouTube is a closed platform. The feedback stayed with them and wasn’t available for people consuming the podcast through other apps. That’s not the case with Podcasting 2.0.
“Since RSS and the Lightning Network are both open platforms, comments are also interoperable across Podcasting 2.0 apps, so any creator can receive feedback from any listener using any app.”
Conclusions About Podcasting 2.0
Another advantage that this new standard provides podcasters is that they can truly be platform agnostic.
“Since RSS and Bitcoin are complementary open standards, podcasters don’t have to risk alienating their existing listeners or worry about migrating their content to a new platform.
All podcasters need to do is flip the switch and their Lightning tips and messages will seamlessly integrate with their existing RSS feed.”
Kevin Rooke closes his masterclass with this:
“As Podcasting 2.0 apps continue to build easy interfaces for listeners to tip their favorite podcasters, Lightning tips could even become a primary revenue source, without cannibalizing or interfering with a creator’s existing ad revenue.”
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Do you see it now? Or is he exaggerating? In any case, the Lightning Network doesn’t have to provide a “primary revenue source.” If Podcasting 2.0 provides a secondary one that wasn’t possible before, plus audience interaction, that’s more than enough.
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