Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Put Ads on Your Podcast

Why subscription revenue is less time-consuming, more predictable, and the future of podcast monetization

The problem with podcast ads

1. They’re time-consuming

2. They’re an unreliable source of income

3. Your audience probably doesn’t like them

Why the freemium model works

The freemium model powers the businesses behind lots of familiar digital products

1. It generates predictable income

Supercast gives podcasters subscription revenue analytics at-a-glance

2. It doesn’t distract from your core product

3. Your audience wants you to do it

“Podcast hosts speak directly into our ears for over 30 minutes at a time, and many listeners build a strong affinity with the content and show host. Makes sense.”

So how many listeners do I need to make the freemium model work?

More than 10,000

Fewer than 1,000,000

Tim Ferris tried listener-supported subscriptions before returning to ads. (Image credit: Rachel Kaplan)

They need to be repeat listeners, too

So how much money are we talking here, exactly?

Estimates based on 4% conversion rate and $5/month subscription
Former Peking University lecturer Xue Zhaofeng quit his job in 2018 after monetizing his podcast lectures using the subscription-based iGet app. (Image credit:

I’m sold, but do I have to pick between ads or a subscription?

So, how do I launch a subscription podcast and build predictable revenue from my show?

Founder of DoubleUp (, co-founder of Supercast ( Admirer of simplicity, fan of excess. Sharing notes at