Podcasting 101 - What business category is a podcast?

Category: business | Last Updated: Aug 7, 2023
Software engineer, finance nerd, AI enthusiast, and the creator of Web Disrupt.

What business category is a podcast?

Podcasts can fall under several business categories, such as Media and Entertainment, Advertising, Education, News and Journalism, E-commerce, or Subscription Service. Most of the time, they end up being a combination of the Podcast categories.

Podcasts: More Than Just Talk

Remember when you thought that podcasting was merely for entertainment? Well, times have changed, my friend! From hilarious comedy sketches to thought-provoking educational lessons, the world of podcasting is vast and diverse. Let's explore each business category, shall we?

Podcast Categories

1. Media and Entertainment Podcasts

Think of the times you've laughed, cried, or had an epic facepalm moment. Yep, that's the magic of Media and Entertainment podcasts. They're like the Netflix of the audio world but without the binge-watch guilt. The entertainment industry of live content is now composed of a hybrid of YouTube and podcasting.

Examples of Entertainment podcasts:

  • “The Joe Rogan Experience”: With a mix of comedians, actors, and thought leaders, this podcast is pure entertainment. It's like having a backstage pass to a celebrity hangout.

  • “Welcome to Night Vale”: A fictional radio show from a mysterious town where every conspiracy theory is true. It entertains through bizarre narratives and quirky humor.

  • “Lore”: Folklore tales and dark historical events are retold in this chilling podcast.

  • “The Misfits Podcast”: A group of friends discuss ridiculous stories and life experiences.

  • “How Did This Get Made?”: A comic critique of movies.

  • “Comedy Bang Bang”: A blend of interviews and comedic sketches.

Why this podcast classification?

This category includes podcasts that primarily entertain, with content ranging from stand-up comedy to true crime stories. They may inform like other podcasts, but entertainment remains the primary goal.

2. Advertising Podcasts

"Today's episode is brought to you by…" Sound familiar? When those catchy jingles and irresistible offers pop up, you're in Advertising podcast territory. Cha-ching!

Examples of advertising podcasts:

  • Branded podcasts like “The Message” by GE: While entertaining, this sci-fi podcast is crafted to promote GE’s technological innovations subtly.

  • Various episodes with product placements: Ever heard an episode where the host casually mentions a brand? That’s likely an advertising play.

  • “DTR - The Official Tinder Podcast”: Produced by Tinder, this podcast dives into the modern dating world.

  • “The Sauce” by McDonald's: McDonald's tackles the mystery of a missing dipping sauce.

  • “The Secret to Victory by Gatorade”: High-profile athletes discuss their most crushing defeats.

  • “Eater Upsell”: While primarily food-based, it often features sponsored content from the culinary world.

Why this podcast classification?

This category includes podcasts that are content focused while possibly entertaining or informative and are tailored to promote a product, service, or brand.

3. Education Podcasts

Fact: Bananas are berries, but strawberries aren't! Wait, what? Yes, that's the intriguing information you'll find in Education podcasts. It is fun tuning in to learn something new every day.

Examples of education podcasts:

  • “Stuff You Should Know”: A podcast that dives deep into various topics, from the history of soda to the intricacies of the feudal system.

  • “TED Radio Hour”: Adapted from TED Talks, this podcast brings together multiple speakers on a single topic to educate and inspire.

  • “Hardcore History by Dan Carlin”: Deep dives into historical events.

  • “Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell”: Reinterpreting overlooked historical events.

  • “Science Vs”: Pitting facts against popular myths.

Why this podcast classification?

This category includes podcasts that create valuable and engaging content and sometimes challenge our perspectives. Successful podcasts can both entertain and educate.

4. News and Journalism Podcasts

Breaking news! Podcasts in this category keep you updated on the latest happenings, from global politics to neighborhood gossip. It's like having a chat with that super-informed friend. You know the one.

Examples of News podcasts:

  • “The Daily” by The New York Times: A deep dive into top stories, making sense of the headlines.

  • “Serial”: An investigative journalism podcast that unravels one story over a season.

  • “BBC Global News Podcast”: International news updates.

  • “Post Reports by The Washington Post”: Insights into daily news stories.

  • “The Journal by The Wall Street Journal”: Money business newsdissected.

Why this podcast classification?

This category includes podcasts that present facts, updates, and investigative findings, keeping listeners informed about current events.

5. E-commerce Podcasts

Did that podcaster mention a product that piqued your interest? That's E-commerce for you! It's the art of making you reach for your wallet while still being engrossed in the audio content.

Examples of E-commerce podcasts:

  • Podcasts by influencers: Many influencers have ventured into podcasting, discussing products, and often providing affiliate links for listeners to shop.

  • Specialized review podcasts: Think tech gadget reviews or book recommendations, where hosts discuss products and provide buying links.

  • “The Beauty Brains”: Scientists break down beauty product ingredients, often recommending products.

  • “The Indie Hackers Podcast”: Interviews with founders and entrepreneurs, focusing on business-related topics, while highlighting tools and services.

  • “Sneakerheads”: A deep dive into sneaker culture and collectibles.

  • “The Gear Show”: Outdoor gear and sportswear reviews and recommendations.

Why this podcast classification?

This category includes podcasts whose goal is often to lead listeners to make a purchase, either directly or indirectly.

6. Subscription Service Podcasts

"Unlock this exclusive episode for subscribers only!" Ah, the sweet temptation of Subscription Service podcasts. For a few bucks, you get the golden ticket to content that's off-limits for regular listeners.

Examples of subscription podcasts:

  • Luminary: A platform with premium podcasts, only accessible to paying subscribers.

  • Certain Patreon-based podcasts: Creators offer special episodes or content exclusively for patrons.

  • “Chapo Trap House” on Patreon: Political comedy with a unique take on news for subscribers.

  • “Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend” on Luminary: Extended interviews are only available to subscribers.

  • “Happier Plus” by Gretchen Rubin: An extension of her original podcast with exclusive content.

  • “No Ads, No Problem”: A variety of podcasts offer ad-free experiences for subscribers.

Why this podcast classification?

This category is when a podcast's content is gated, and listeners need to pay a fee to access either specific episodes or the entire series.

Determining Your Podcast's Business Category

A podcast's theme, target audience, and monetization method play a huge role in its classification. So if you're a budding podcaster. Understand your audience and your goals, and you'll find your podcast category!

1. Determine Your Podcast's main topic

Ask yourself: "Why am I starting this podcast?"

  • To Entertain? You're probably looking at the Media and Entertainment category. Think of sitcoms, true crime, dramas, or anything that elicits emotions.

  • To Inform or Educate? This points towards the Education category. Whether it’s a deep dive into historical events, science topics, or tech trends, you're schooling your listeners in some way.

  • To Update or Investigate? The News and Journalism category beckons. You're either updating listeners on current affairs or investigating particular stories or issues.

2. Evaluate Monetization Strategies

Think about how you plan to earn from your podcast:

  • Promoting Products or Services? The Advertising category is your calling. If brands are paying you to showcase their products or if you're discussing specific products in the hope of making sales, this is your arena.

  • Direct Sales or Affiliate Links? E-commerce would be the best category. It means your podcast aims to lead listeners to make purchases.

  • Charging Listeners for Exclusive Content? Dive into the Subscription Service category.

3. Analyze Content Structure

How you plan and structure your content can also provide hints:

  • Segmented with Ad Breaks? If you have dedicated slots for ads, you might lean more toward Advertising and marketing strategies.

  • Consistent Themes vs. Varied Topics? A podcast focusing on distinct themes might point towards Education or News and Journalism. In contrast, varied topics might hint at Media and Entertainment.

4. Scope Out the Competition

Look at similar podcasts and note their business categories. If you find a popular podcast that closely aligns with your content and purpose, the category they've chosen might also be a good fit for you.

5. Seek Feedback

Engage with potential listeners, friends, or fellow podcasters. Sharing your podcast idea and getting feedback can offer fresh perspectives on where your podcast fits best.

6. Flexibility is Key

Remember, podcasting isn't rigid. Many podcasts evolve over time. You might start in one category and find, a few episodes in, that another category suits you better. Stay flexible, and don't be afraid to pivot if needed.

7. Consult the Platforms

Podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, google podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher have their categorizations. While these are more genre-specific, understanding where your podcast fits on these platforms can give you additional insights into your broader business category.

Blurring the Lines: When they Defy a Single Podcast Category

What business category is a podcast? Well, sometimes that is not always clear cut. In the kaleidoscope of podcasting, it's not uncommon for shows to dance between podcast categories, weaving an intricate tapestry of content that doesn’t fit neatly into one box. The beauty of the podcasting medium lies in its flexibility, allowing creators to mix and match content types and business models in innovative ways.

The Fluidity Factor of

Before we list examples, let's touch on why this blending happens:

  1. Evolution of Content: As shows progress, their focus can shift based on audience feedback, current events, or a change in the host's interests.

  2. Diverse Monetization: Creators often explore multiple revenue streams, leading them to combine elements from different business categories.

  3. Innovative Engagement: To keep listeners hooked, podcasters might introduce fresh formats or segments, adding layers to their main category.

Pioneering Podcasts that Blur the Lines

  1. “Reply All”:

    Primary Category: Media and Entertainment - It started as a show about the internet's quirks.

    Blurred With: News and Journalism - As episodes delve into investigative stories about online phenomenons, the lines blur.

  2. “The Tim Ferriss Show”:

    Primary Category: Education - Tim dives deep into tactics and strategies used by top performers.

    Blurred With: Advertising - The show features sponsorships and occasional product promotions, integrating them smoothly into the content.

  3. “Radiolab”:

    Primary Category: Education - With its science and philosophy themes, it educates in an immersive way.

    Blurred With: Media and Entertainment - The use of soundscapes, music, and narrative structures often makes episodes feel like audio movies.

  4. “The Morning Toast”:

    Primary Category: News and Journalism - As it covers daily news stories and celebrity gossip.

    Blurred With: E-commerce - With product recommendations and affiliate promotions sprinkled in.

  5. “StartUp Podcast”:

    Primary Category: Education - Initially, it detailed the journey of launching a startup.

    Blurred With: Media and Entertainment - The storytelling format, with personal dilemmas and dramas, adds a layer of entertainment to the educational core.

  6. “The Joe Rogan Experience”:

    Primary Category: Media and Entertainment - Thanks to the variety of guest interviews.

    Blurred With: Advertising - Regularly has sponsored segments or product endorsements within episodes.

Wrap Up

Alright, sound nerds, that was a whirlwind tour of podcasts and their multiple categories! Whether you're a listener or creator, understanding these categories can enhance your podcasting journey. You should now be able to determine why and in what business category is a podcast.

5 Actions to Amplify Your Audio Adventures

1. Explore New Genres: Step out of your comfort zone and listen to podcasts from different categories.

2. Start Your Own: Inspired? Create your podcast. Pick a niche, set goals, and find your unique voice.

3. Support Indie Podcasters: Go beyond big names. Indie podcasters often bring fresh and unique perspectives.

4. Engage: Connect with podcast hosts and fellow listeners on social platforms. Share, review, and spread the word!

5. Stay Updated: The world of podcasting is ever-evolving. Subscribe to newsletters or join communities to stay in the loop.


Unlock your financial potential with our free value-packed email newsletter, where we decode complex financial concepts and deliver actionable insights straight to your inbox. Join us today and take control of your financial future!

© 2024 Web Disrupt Inc. All right researved.