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Anchor now lets podcasters monetize by requesting donations of up to $10 per month


Podcasting platform Anchor has announced its first moves into monetization by allowing listeners to pay their favorite podcasters through a monthly subscription. The news comes six months after Anchor introduced a major overhaul, shifting from a short-form social audio platform to a full-fledged podcasting powerhouse. However, the Anchor reboot notably lacked money-making tools for creators. The companys CEO, Mike Mignano, hinted at the time that monetization features would be a near-term goal for the company, and today that becomes a reality. The new feature is called Anchor Listener Support, which any creator can activate via their dashboard on the web. Listeners will then see three monthly donation options —  $0.99, $4.99, or $9.99 — to support the podcast creator. They can either enter their payment info on the spot or pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay if theyre on iOS or Android. So if you are on a smartphone, the donation link in a shows notes will take you to your mobile browser to complete the payment, rather than completing it within the podcast app. Creators can cash out at any time through their Anchor dashboard, and the company promises that podcasters will receive payment promptly. Its not entirely free, however, as Anchor will scythe off a 4.5 percent fee, while payment processor Stripe nabs 5 percent plus a $0.10 processing fee and a further $0.25 for each cash-out. So creators get to keep around 90 percent of their fans donations. Anchor is one of a number of podcasting startups to have raised venture capital in recent times, having closed a $10 million series A round of funding from Alphabets investment arm GV less than a year ago. The big technology giants have taken note, too. A few months back, Google launched its own standalone podcast app, which followed Apple rolling out its podcast analytics platform so creators can access more data about how audiences are consuming their podcasts. Apple has offered its own podcast app since 2012. Podcasting was something of a trend in 2017, and 2018 has continued on a similar trajectory. A recent Edison Research Infinite Dial report into podcast listening trends indicated that 26 percent of people in the U.S. now listen to at least one podcast each month, up two percentage points on 2017. And the number of podcasts they listen to on average has risen to seven per week, up from five last year.

Anchor now lets podcasters receive Patreon-style pledges from listeners


Anchors app makes it really easy to throw together a podcast. But if you keep doing that and manage to build an audience, there hasnt been an easy way to get paid for it. Now Anchor is launching an option: a feature called Listener Support that allows listeners to pledge $1, $5, or $10 per month to specific podcasts. Each podcast creator will have to individually enable the Listener Support feature. Beyond that, they and their supporters wont have a lot of options — its locked into those three pledge points and a once-per-month payment. The whole thing is very reminiscent of Patreon, which allows people to voluntarily support creators, with their bill coming once a month. Anchor will take a 4.5 percent cut of all payments, and Stripe, its payments processor, will take another 5 percent plus some flat processing and payout fees. Fortunately, podcast listeners wont have to be Anchor users to sign up. After enabling Listener Support, Anchor will automatically add a link to a podcasts show notes on all distributed platforms, which will bring people to a website where they can enter their payment information and select a pledge. While podcasters could always include ads inside of their episodes, Anchor doesnt offer a way to automatically do that or run some kind of pre-roll advertisement, like YouTube does. That means a podcast had to get big enough to find advertisers on its own, which isnt going to be possible for the vast majority of Anchors audience of startup podcasters. Asked about placing ads inside of podcasts, a spokesperson for Anchor said there is potential for additional monetization features on the platform in the future. Anchor still hasnt said how many people are creating or listening through its app. So while Anchor might offer creators an easy way to get started, its not clear how big of an audience it offers them. Last year, however, it began distributing podcasts to different platforms, which allows the platform to be used for creation without limiting shows to the apps built-in audience. Last month, Anchor launched a podcast lab in Manhattan, where podcasters can book time, for free, to come in and record a podcast with a more professional setup. While Anchor has always been about creating and listening to audio, the app only really crystalized its focus on podcasting at the beginning of the year, when it redesigned its app around creating individual shows.